Mongolia Protest Updates

by Nathan Hamm on 1/13/2006 · 5 comments

Via New Mongols (loads of good links to media coverage at that link) and comments on the last post comes Thomas Terry’s blog where Mr. Terry is giving regular updates from the ground. His latest update mentions that protests have been postponed until Monday, about which he has to say,

When I reported on this blog that the main leaders of the protest movement agreed to withhold protests until noon today, I was mistaken. The agreement was to hold all protests until noon MONDAY. Hello? Are you crazy?

…Yesterday the momentum was on the side of the protesters and the leaders who organized them. Eagle TV covered the events, not to give them legitimacy, but because this was a huge event. We would have done the same thing if they were MPRP protesters – just as we did today. But by making a deal to take the heat off their opponents for 3 days the protest movement has not only lost its momentum, it may have thrown ice cold water on the fire. Certainly the MPRP knows this. They don’t need to do much except wait out their opponents while they gear up other media to skew the protest stories in their favor. This is classic, smart, intelligent, wise strategy by the MPRP. If the protest leaders can’t recognize it, then perhaps they deserve to loose the momentum and for the flash fire in the pan to go out. Maybe the MPRP really does deserve to take control?

…it seems to me that if the protesters are serious about wanting to rid the government of corruption, and they absolutely believe the people they’ve named are the root cause, then they would not sacrifice their momentum – they would step up the pressure and capitalize on their success instead of rolling over when the MPRP asks them to take a nap.

I might be wrong. I’m not Mongolian. I don’t think like a Mongolian. My culture and mental frame of reference is different. Still, I have to wonder why those within the democratic coalition always sacrifice their greatest gains at the moments of their greatest victories. And what did they give up their momentum for; a promise of an answer on Monday? Holy cow! I wish my opponents would bend over so quickly. I would own the world.

I think he’s certainly right about the need to maintain pressure and forward momentum. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but if there’s any lesson to be drawn from recent political protests in Eurasia (…Azerbaijan…) it’s that taking a break is suicide.

Tom’s blog has tons more news, and I highly recommend checking it out for a more detailed an informed view of events than you’re likely to find here. Other blogs worth checking out are New Mongols, …yuu bna?, and Mongolian Matters.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Brejen January 13, 2006 at 7:23 pm

what a coincidence of events! Several month after George Bush’s historic visit to Mongolia…

Nathan January 13, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Oh yes, it’s so obvious there’s a connection.

Really, think about it, what would MPRP resignations related to domestic politics and the ensuing protests against their actions have to do with the US? And even in the mildest of fever-swamp thinking, this wouldn’t make much sense. It’s not as if the status quo was really a problem for the US and it’s unlikely that a change in PMs would be much of a problem.

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