Interviewee ID: 990080
Parent's name: Dondov
Year of Birth: 1940
Notes on education:
Born in: Saihan sum, Bulgan aimag
Lives in: Bayangol sum (or part of UB), Ulaanbaatar aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
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education / cultural production; collectivization; democracy; politics / politicians; foreign relations;
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To read a full interview with Lamjav please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 090102A with Lamjav
D. Lamjav is one who started to become a publicly known person when the democratic process of 1990 started to flourish in Mongolia. He is not only one of the founders of the Mongolian Social Democratic party, but the history he has told is irreversibly connected with the origin of the democratic socialist movement. He told how the teachers who worked at the first building of the MNU or ‘the building with the monument’ were drawn to the democratic movement and the precise reasons why they were more active. Also, he has been named ‘citizen Lamjav’ in the past ten years among Mongolians. He has complained to the Constitutional Court on several vital issues and he has won the cases, therefore the public started to call him in such a way.
Besides the interview of Citizen Lamjav, his relatives living in Saihan sum of Bulgan aimag, their children who are herders, his classmates who completed secondary school in Bulgan aimag in 1959, several classmates who made great contributions to the development of Mongolia of the twentieth century, and several acquaintances who are the well-known people of Mongolian society gave interviews for the twentieth century oral history project.
D. Lamjav was born in 1940 in Saihan sum of Bulgan aimag. His childhood was spent similar to other herders’ children assisting his parents in tending the livestock and playing around. His father was a caravaneer. In 1945 his mother suddenly got sick and her health deteriorated. They came by camel caravan to Ulaanbaatar to get medical care for his mother and Lamjav was five years old then. He came with them to the city. On the way he observed the surrounding environment with the eye of a little child of a herder’s family who had never been away from the cattle pen. He recalled all that he had remembered and it was an especially interesting story. He talked in detail about the first building and the first car he had seen. The present Fine Arts Museum, the ‘tall store’ of that time looked massive and great to the child’s eye. In this part of his interview he recalled the social condition of the countryside of that time, the living conditions of the herders, the cooperative, the literacy process in the commune period, and the ‘red injection’ period.
He went to school at the age of nine and he enjoyed studying there. The bag darga approached him when he grazed his sheep in the pasture land and said, “You will go to school.” He gladly accepted it. Hence he studied well and he sought education until he started teaching at the MNU. The countryside schoolchildren of when he first entered school lived in a felt ger dormitory and their parents provided the dormitory with firewood and meat. The teacher had Lamjav copy the class lectures. He talked extensively about his funny reminisces about how the art and artistic works were carried out, who participated in them, what was the impression of the films and concerts of that time were. He played chess a lot, often took part in sports, skated, and talked about what the children of the dormitory exchanged between each other during the ten years of his life there.
In 1959, when he was completing the tenth grade, the collectivization movement was at the final stage and since he was a herder’s child, he was well aware of this process. Before the collectives there was an attempt to establish communes. The herders with private livestock have been scared by the so-called ‘official regulations’ tax burden. The number of the livestock was determined very accurately and the official regulations norm was set. It was a very great burden for the herders that the tax had to be paid as it had been set. Because of this there were cases when the herders had to cut off the lining of their deels to fulfill the wool norm. There were many people who gave away their livestock to the collective and became content that they had escaped from punishment and got rid of the livestock they could be penalized for. He also mentioned about the good and bad things of the lives of the collective herders.
Since his student years Lamjav had been a student with rebellious views. He went to Moscow to enhance his qualifications at the Moscow Sate University in March of 1989. Then, Moscow had changed very much. Demonstrations flourished everywhere and he went to watch them not missing out any of them. Baasanjav, Hatanbaatar, Baabar were together in Moscow then. They used to meet and talk about the events but they never organized anything. They were the people who had sensed it was necessary to establish the ‘Podhodnaya Organizatsiya’ (approaching organization). On his return from Moscow he became quite sophisticated about this issue. He recalled he came back having become kind of rebellious. Around 1988 he used to talk for five minutes to the students before the classes about ‘perestroika’ and politics. He said the students took it in a positive way. On the third floor of the school he issued a wall newspaper and hung various translated news and articles. Sometimes a group of people gathered there to have a meeting. Even the mathematicians and the physicians of the Academy of Science gathered together with the teachers and the students. In this way the Democratic Socialist Movement was formed on January 1st of 1990 and the so-called Proclamation of the Democratic Socialist Movement has been issued. He feels that then and there one could see somehow the level of thinking of those people. For the first time the Democratic Socialist Movement raised the issue of the Constitution saying, “There’s nothing wrong in discussing it together.” In spring of 1991, the State Baga Hural published and displayed the draft Constitution to be discussed by all the people. At that time the Revolutionary Party considered that the issue of Law on Increase could be related to you. In this way he talked very extensively and accurately the history of how the first Democratic Constitution was approved.
The big achievement of democracy was privatization, he said and he approved of this process. He briefly mentioned the repression of 1937 and the events happened around his relatives.