chapter  7
Zanabazar and Sühbaatar: Defending and regaining the uls
Pages 29

In the middle of the square that still bears his name, there is a statue of Sühbaatar astride his charger. Unlike statues of Lenin in parts of the former Soviet Union, and even in Ulaanbaatar, Sühbaatar’s statue has not been vandalized. Flowers are laid by government leaders at the statue on the November anniversary of the proclamation of the first socialist constitution in 1924. The statue often serves as a backdrop for Mongols having their picture taken in the square. Similarly, Sühbaatar is still present and relatively unscathed in the post-socialist history books. Given his role as Mongolia’s equivalent to Lenin, and the hagiography that surrounded him during the socialist period, the current status of Sühbaatar may raise a few eyebrows. One would have expected that the father of Mongolian socialism would have suffered a worse fate since the democratic revolution. The changes in public portrayals of Sühbaatar are more changes in degree than in kind. Because of this, Sühbaatar provides further illumination in the quest to understand the transmission of contesting views of history and the construction of Mongolian identity.