Interviewee ID: 990563
Parent's name: Tsend
Year of Birth: 1940
Notes on education: agronomist
Work: retired; 'Uvs Arvijih' company advisor (zövlöh)
Born in: Böhmörön sum, Uvs aimag
Lives in: Ulaangom sum (or part of UB), Uvs aimag
Mother's profession: herder
Father's profession: herder
Themes for this interview, suggested by the interview team, are:
(Please click on a theme to see more interviews on that topic)
work; industrialization; politics / politicians; education / cultural production; environment;
Alternative keywords suggested by readers for this interview are: (Please click on a keyword to see more interviews, if any, on that topic)
farms; Ih Hural deputy; constitution;
Click here to submit your own keywords for this interview
To read a full interview with Otgon please click on the Interview ID below.
Summary of Interview 100918A with Otgon
Ts. Otgon was born in 1940 as the eleventh child in a place called Höshööt located in Böhmörön sum of Uvs aimag. Although her parents were herders they lived where there were big squares of land called Tsagaantün and Modon ovoo where her father used to plant crops and where she used to work as well. At that time planting crops were different from today. Everything was done manually and with a simple cart. First they used to do the watering. During the previous fall they would let their sheep lie around the land and their home and fertilize the land. Following spring we used to water it. Right after watering we would manually throw the seeds. Then we would use a camel plough, cow plough to plough the field, and water the field five times and harvest in fall. She says that her father used to harvest really well.
She entered Böhmörön sum elementary school in 1948, graduated from it in 1952 and finally completed secondary school in 1959. At that time Mongolia had only five universities. In 1959 the University of Agriculture of Mongolia opened up and she became one of its first students. During that period only few agronomists were trained. It was the time when Mongolia bought from Russia 2500 combine harvesters, 500 tractors and was planning to plough a lot of virgin land and therefore the profession she chose was very special. She graduated from the university in 1964 and was sent by the Ministry of Agriculture to Sagil sum’s farming machinery station as a general agronomist. In 1972 the aimag’s party committee decided to send her to Baruunturuun collective farm as a general agronomist which was a very responsible position. The reason for that was the fact that the collective farm was formed in 1943 and by 1972 it has been operating for twenty nice years. The 27 year harvest plan was disrupted. There plan was fulfilled only twice, in 1961 and 1962 and in two other occasions it was behind the planned harvest. There was already 23-rd decision rendered by the ministers to change the status of the collective farm into a fodder supply farm. She arrived in Baruunturuun on April 15, prepared the land for seeding, did sowing and by fall the planned harvest was fulfilled. In 1973 there was another harvest plan that was fulfilled. Two years in a row the collective farm witnessed good harvests. By 1983 Baruunturuun collected its historical harvest, 43000 tons of crops. Baruunturuun farm had 45000 hectares of land of which 30000 hectares were used for growing crops. 15000 hectares were left to rest. Nationwide it was the second largest farm.
In 1984 a decision was made by the aimag’s party committee to send her to Harhiraa because a new complex fodder farm with an irrigation system of 2084 hectares was to be launched there with the aid from Soviet Union. This appointment was made to bring the farm to full capacity and start exploiting it before the due date and therefore a capable professional was needed for it. Before she arrived there was another general agronomist called Shaaluu from who she also received responsibility in Baruuturuun. She says it was an interesting coincidence that she replaced this person twice at work.
She thinks that her lifetime party and public activities were related and somehow inherited from her father her involvement in agricultural activities such as raising crops. In terms of agricultural geography Uvs aimag is included in the great lakes zone. The weather can undergo drastic changes. During winter it can reach minus 50. During summer it can heat up to 45 degrees. It has such a unique weather condition. However, the land in Ulaangom is very fertile. There aren’t any plants and vegetables that do not grow in Ulaangom. Almost eighty percent of worldwide supply of sea buckthorn is grown in Mongolia. Out of that almost eighty percent grows in Uvs.
During her professional years she was elected as a member of the People’s Great Hural, was involved in passing new constitution and before 1990 she sincerely believed that MPRP was the guiding leader of everything. Now we say “state” whereas before we used to say “party state”. The Party came first. The party organized everything. There was not a thing that party was not involved in. Then from 1990 democratic changes occurred. There was talk that there will be many parties from now on. Right at this time in April of 1990 a special MPRP session was commissioned. The main issue that was discussed during the session was about making changes and modification #to the party’s structure.
Hence, MPRP drew a summary of its activities, recognized the multi-party system, gave up its leading role and replaced the term “party state” with “state”. In other words MPRP recognized and proposed through its special session that the state would be the core of the political structure rather than party.
The meeting that drafted the constitution lasted 75 days and was responsible for making historical decision in transitioning the economy from centrally planned into market based, recognizing the multi-party system and pluralism. Over ten days of heated debate were spent on agreeing on four words “Mongol State’s Basic Law (Constitution of Mongolia)”. One of the big changes that occurred as a consequence of democracy was privatization. I still consider that the privatization of socialist property was done in a greatly incorrect manner.
The environment is undergoing major changes. During winter in Uvs aimag it can reach minus 50 on ground. Last year it reached almost 50 degrees in the air.
Not everyone has such historical destiny as to be involved in the process of passing the first Constitution of Mongolia. She concluded that she felt extremely glad when Mongolia recognized 45 years of her work and awarded her with a medal of merit.