Herdsman to Statesman: The Autobiography of Jamsrangiin Sambuu of Mongolia
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This compelling autobiography encapsulates the profound changes that transformed the underdeveloped world in the twentieth century. Jamsrangiin Sambuu, born in 1895 to a herder family in a remote region of Mongolia, rose to become ambassador and eventually president of a haltingly industrialized and urbanized Communist country. In the process, he came to know Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and other leading figures. Sambuu relates horrifying vignettes of the harsh and oppressive rule over Mongolia by the Chinese, the Manchus, and the Mongolian nobility and lamas until 1911. Yet his stories of exploitation and torture are balanced by a lively, picturesque, and informative portrait of traditional herding life, including diet, popular religion, marital ceremonies, and medicine.
Sambuu relates how his visceral hatred of the avaricious Mongolian Buddhist monks and nobles prompted him to join the Communist movement in the early 1920s. Valued for his education and work ethic, he rose rapidly in the Party bureaucracy, becoming ambassador to the Soviet Union during World War II and to North Korea during the Korean War. Recounting his eventful diplomatic career, Sambuu paints vivid portraits of Stalin, Anastas Mikoyan, and other prominent Soviet leaders. Enriched by a thoughtful introduction by leading scholar Morris Rossabi that sets the historical stage, this life story of a still-beloved Mongolian illuminates a world few in the West have seen.
Manchus wielded their power over the people who struggled like dogs under their feet. Innumerable relay services were established in eighty more banner offices and were paid for by the people’s stock of old gelding camels, horses, and sheep. The Manchu government even expropriated some of the people’s best, largest, and youngest horses, the baggage camels, and their cloth tents, which were sent overland for military needs. On the other hand, the greedy Chinese merchants imposed a tax on property
so that the horse could barely carry the big black saddle bag. Food and cutlery were prepared including a vegetable and meat dish, and so many other things that the horse could carry in the big black saddle bag. As I was about to go, the rich people who lived nearby, led by deputy banner leader Tsedevsüren and Dendev, brought a feast. While drinking airagh and vodka, they discussed among themselves that soon the office of the aimag assembly of the main Tusheet Khanate would distribute the payment
end of the second month of 1919, the Japanese imperialists with Semenov, the fugitive leader of the White Russians, under the pretext of uniting the Mongolian nationalists—a group composed of the feudal nationalist sympathizers—some Inner Mongolians, Barga, and Buryats proclaimed their own government at one of the railway stations. But this was only a game with no foundation, and it soon collapsed. Then, after March 3, 1919, the Japanese hurriedly made an agreement with the Anfu group—a group in
work for institutions required constant supervision. It was important and necessary for us to expedite trade in machine technology whether from a southern, eastern, or central direction. So, from time to time, I personally met with Comrade Mikoyan to express this wish as well as to raise questions and reach decisions. From the beginning of January until May 1939, there was a period of Japanese military threat on our borders as the Japanese 64th regiment gradually encroached and attacked near
the military honor of the Red Star flag. Thus the soldier and the leader who had built this superior and honored tank brigade had earned more than four star medals from their Mongolian comrades. And for this, the army General N. I. Batutin was also honored with the Red Star flag. The Central Committee of the MPRP and the government of the people of Mongolia in December, 1944 fought in the socialist Republic of the Ukraine on the Western front, which was the first front in the brave fight against