Sunday, May 22, 2005
“Communism was much better,” said Tsahiriin Daariimaa Saturday on the eve of Mongolia‘s presidential elections. Polls predict that many Mongolians plan to vote for their former communist rulers — the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP).
Under communism, “everyone worked for the collective farm,” Daariimaa said. None of her children has a steady job these days.
Myatav Choijav is a Mongolian who shares that view; “Now, some people are very rich and some are very poor. In the old times, the government took better care of us ordinary people,” Choijav said. “Now, the government is very far away from us, especially if you live in the countryside and take care of sheep. Everyone was equal under communist rule,” Choijav said.
Tseveenjav, a 70-year-old sheep herder, agrees: “I will support the MPRP. They always do the right thing.”
Tseveenjav wears the traditional Mongolian thick boots and hat while sitting upon his horse with a dead marmot hung from his saddle. Falcon and Tiger, his sheepdogs, help him keep watch over 500 sheep.
Sambuu Ganbaator, a member of the Democratic Party, has a different opinion from most of his neighbors.
“Too many people forget what the MPRP did to Mongolia,” he said. “They kept Mongolia under a brutal dictatorship. You weren’t allowed to speak your mind.” Now, he said, “you can say anything you want to say and do what you want to live a happy life.”
The MPRP’s candidate, Nambariin Enkbayar, leads the polls and the ex-communist party has said that it is now committed to democracy.