By Maria A. Macciocchi
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Extra info for Daily Life in Revolutionary China (Modern reader ; PB-282)
External events, which lay beyond the control of the Mongolian leadership, were fueling changes and placing pressure on the Batmünkh regime. The USSR faced its own difficulties in the mid to late 1980s, owing in part to vast military expenditures to counter the perceived Western threat, to mismanagement and inefficiencies in the economy, and to the rise of wealthy and unscrupulous entrepreneurs. These economic reversals affected Mongolia, which was dependent on Soviet trade and aid. Soviet technical assistance was also invaluable, and many experts from the communist bloc assisted in managing the Mongolian economy.
They tried to focus the workers’ hostility toward Russia on dissatisfaction with the MPRP and the Mongolian government, which still perceived the USSR as patron and protector. Having common foes, the two groups were able to forge a mutually beneficial alliance. Erdenet employees had convened a protest meeting early in December, during which one speaker vowed: “We want no longer to be led by the hand of the USSR. We want the same wages for the same work. ”38 Learning of the meeting in Erdenet from one of the participants, the Mongolian Democratic Union decided to make contact with the dissident employees.
By April 1987, he had withdrawn about a quarter of the total Soviet force stationed in Mongolia. He thus signaled his perception of the reduction of the threat of a Sino-Soviet war and his desire for closer relations with China. Mongolia quickly adopted the same policy, seeking to heal the wounds of more than two decades of hostility. In June 1987, the MPR and China signed agreements concerning the peaceful resolution of border disputes. 20 Perhaps as important, with the USSR starting to limit its commitment to Mongolia, Batmünkh and his MPRP associates had no choice but to cultivate relations with previously hostile states.