Mongolia is sometimes seen as one of the few examples of a successful youth-led revolution, where a 1990 movement forced the Soviet-appointed Politburo to resign. In Young Mongols: Forging Democracy in the Wild, Wild East (Penguin Random House SEA: 2020), Aubrey Menard profiles many of today’s young activists in Mongolia, in a wide array of different areas like pollution, feminism, LGBT rights, and journalism.
In this interview, we discuss several of the activists profiled in her book, as well as discuss the development of Mongolia's democracy. We talk about whether we can think about young Mongolians as a "generation", and whether the country's experience supports or challenges normal democratic theory. We also touch base on what's been happening in Mongolia since she published her book.
Aubrey Menard is an expert on political transitions, elections and democracy, working on democracy and governance issues in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Central America and the United States. She lived in Mongolia as a Luce Scholar from 2015 to 2016. You can follow her on Twitter at @AubreyMenard.
Nicholas Gordon is a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. In his day job, he’s a researcher and writer for a think tank in economic and sustainable development. He is also a print and broadcast commentator on local and regional politics. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.
Nicholas Gordon is a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. In his day job, he’s a researcher and writer for a think tank in economic and sustainable development. He can be found on Twitter at @nickrigordon.