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Beginning with the first special issue of our magazine in 2018, we present to you readers a biography of great women who have led the Mongolian Women Federation for a century. In the first special issue of the magazine “Mongolian Women”, we presented an article titled “A glittering bright star in the night sky” about Pagmadulam Damdin, the first Chairman of the Mongolian women’s organization, wife of the great Mongolian writer Natsagdorj D. This time we present you a biography of Yanjmaa Nemendey, the head of the Women’s Department, a prominent public figure, a representative of the Mongolian aristocracy, the wife of the head of the Mongolian People’s Revolution, the great leader Sukhbaatar Damdin. As well as notes about her role in the history of independent Mongolia, about her hard work.

This material was prepared on the basis of documents from the archive of the Mongolian women’s organization with a 95-year history, based on notes and published materials of this organization.

Yanjmaa was born in 1893. Yanjmaa and her father Nemendey are descendants of the serf peasant Sukhbat of the name “Zuun khurluud” khoshun “Eats a base Gadin Zasag” of the aimag Khalkh Setsen khan. This territory is today’s Sukhbaatar soum of Sukhbaatar Province. The son of the arat Altanhuyag with his father Sukhbat in the beginning of the 19th century worked as a peasant in the most severe condition in the Manchu Qing state. They lived in one of the Khovd road stations, which was located next to the “Khalkh 20” station on the Haalgan-Uliastay route. And the son of Altanhuyaga Dondoon, after going to the eastern province on the way back, stopped at the Hoshun Darkhan chin van, which today is located on the banks of the Kherlen River in the Bayandelger soum of Central Province.

Staring at the long trip, Dondoon sent his elder brother and two younger sisters home with strangers who they met on the way. And he and his wife Sampil, the daughter Myadag, remained on the banks of the Kherlen River. Dondoon helped travelers cross the river and thus earned a living. During this time he had two sons and two daughters. The second son of Dondoon Nemendey is the father of our main character, Yanjmaa.

Yanjmaa’s father, Nemendey D., was bountiful from childhood, at the age of ten he was engaged in hunting for hares and gophers, helped around the house, and also learned writing by himself. He worked as a secretary in the administration of the khoshun Darkhan Chin van of Province Tusheet Khan.

While working, he met Sereenen, the daughter of Uvgunkhuu, whose family lived in the territory of the camp “Ikh Shaviyn Tahruud”. On February 6, 1893, a daughter was born, Nemendey and Yanjmaa called their daughter Yanjmaa. She later became the wife of the great leader of the Mongolian Revolution Sukhbaatar Damdin, and also became the second Chairman of the Mongolian women’s organization. But her childhood was spent in harsh conditions. Her maternal grandmother forbade her daughter to marry a peasant and told her parents to leave. Parents broke up when Yanjmaa was 3 years old. And her mother was forced to marry the rich man Dugarsuren. Dugarsuren called Yanjmaa constantly a descendant of a beggar and hated her. Even in 1898, in the festival, which was attended by spiritual leaders, Dugarsuren’s horse took fifth place in the races. The steed’s jockey was five-year-old Yanjmaa. And Dugarsuren tried to give his adopted daughter to Bogd Khan as a donation.

Nemendey at that time took part in the Mongolian wrestling tournament and remained in the final. But when he heard that Dugarsuren wanted to give her daughter to Bogd Khan, he immediately rode up and took his daughter with him, saying to Dugarsuren: “The horse is yours, but daughter is mine”. Yanjmaa lived up to ten years with her own father. Yanjmaa recalled this: “I moved to my father’s house, Nemendey. I lived happy and calm with him and my  stepmother. And I reached ten years old”. After the death of Dugarsuren, Nemendey gave her daughter to the mother. And Yanjmaa lived with her mother till 17 years.

When Yanjmaa was falling in love with the leader of the Mongolian Revolution, Sukhbaatar, her grandmother Baljid was also against it because she wanted to give her granddaughter in marriage to a decent person from a good family. There are notes that it is for this reason that Yanjmaa went to Khujirbulan with a beloved man. Also in some notes, it is explained that her name is not Yanjmaa, but Yanjin, as evidenced by the application of Sukhbaatar’s brother Dendev to the People’s Government in the summer of 1923. In this application it was written: “The wife of Sukhbaatar Yanjin, the adopted son Galsanlkhundev”. “Dendev is the eldest son of Damdin. If consider his statements, Galsanlkhundev is not the native son of the leader. If examine the census of 1922, then the registration of the leader Sukhbaatar is as follows. His family name is Khais, age: 28, wife: Yanjin is 30 years old , son: Tumur is 3 years old, 11 horses, 10 cows and 10 sheeps. Historian Purev O. wrote in his research work: “It is interesting that this registration does not contain information about Galsan, but a son is registered under the name Tumur”.

Also in historical documents it is written that Sukhbaatar died in the morning around 9 o’clock on February 20, 1923. Sukhbaatar’s adopted son Galsan once said: “In the evening, Rinchino came to visit us and said that he needed to talk in private with father and asked everyone to leave the house. Their conversation lasted about two hours. Then father became ill, his temperature rose and he died in the morning. There are some suspicions”.

Yanjmaa, who lost her husband in her youth, until the end of her days was faithful to the idea of the leader Sukhbaatar.

Kyakhta is a historically significant place where work was carried out to establish and strengthen the independence of Mongolia, where the main activity of the People’s Revolution was carried out. The Mongol military, who wanted independence from the oppression of the Manchu dynasty, from the first to the third of March 1921, held a meeting of Mongolian revolutionaries in the Consulate building, where 26 people gathered. They held a meeting to unite their thoughts.

I would like to note that researchers believe Yanjmaa worked as a strategic informant against the Manchu dynasty and passed on information to her husband from the capital to Kyakhta. This is remembered in the program “Ever-memorable Personality”. This program also stressed that the wife of the great leader Yanjmaa took care of the wives of those who fought along with Sukhbaatar and carried out many activities to restore the Mongolian tradition. In 2004, Amarsaikhan U. interviewed the son of the leader Sukhbaatar. In this interview, Galsan said that Sukhbaatar’s mother, Hand, always said that if his son married another woman, then he wouldn’t be able to become a great leader. From these words, we can conclude that Yanjmaa fought together for the independence of the country, actively participated in the movements of the People’s Revolution, and also provided mental support to her husband.

After her husband, our heroine Yanjmaa dedicated her life to the motherland, people, development and enlightenment of Mongolian women. From the notes and documents that have reached our days, we provide you information about her education and career:

- September 1924 - October 1927 - Chairman of the Women’s Division of the Propaganda Department, member of the commission of the Central Party Committee, Deputy Head of the Trade Union,

- October 1927 - July 1930 - she studied at Communist University of Workers of the East named after I.V. Stalin, KUTV, USSR. There is information that at that time she lived with her son Galsan, there is no confirmed information about whether she graduated from university/,

- in July 1930 after arriving from the USSR until June 1931 - she worked as Head of the Department in the Ministry of Health,

- July 1932 - October 1933 - Head of the Propaganda Department in the Metropolitan Party Committee,

- October 1933 - April 1939 - Head of the Women’s Department of the Party Committee,

- April 1939 - March 1940 - Head of the Factory Division of the Central Cooperative Committee,

- March 1939 - September 1941 - Head of the Women’s Department of the Party Committee,

- July 1949 - Chairman of the Presidium of the People’s Little Khural,

- from December 1943 - Secretary of the Central Party Committee on Women’s Issues,

- February 1947 - July 1949 - Chairman of the Central Committee of Working Women,

- March 1958 - 1961 - Head of the Central Committee of Mongolian Women.

Unfortunately, her, who was actively fighting for the independence of the country together with her husband, a great leader, was accused of slander. This is evidenced by historical notes.

For example: in the program “Eternally memorable personality”, prepared by the teacher of the Faculty of World History of the Mongolian Pedagogical University, it is mentioned that before talking about Yanjmaa, first of all, we need to talk about the psychology of society at that time. In 1939 the Battles of Khalkhin Gol was over, in 1940 the 8th session of the Great State Khural was held, the 10th Party session was also held. In the 1940s, Yanjmaa held a leading position in the MPRP, worked as a member of the Political Bureau. When Marshal Choibalsan Kh. worked as Prime Minister, Yanjmaa in 1949 submitted an application to the Political Bureau. In this application it was written: “We once had a time of illness and rearrangement. Probably, this period is now repeating.”

The meaning of this statement is to criticize the activities of the Marshal Choibalsan Kh. There are notes that Choibalsan Kh. discussed the statement of Yanjmaa at the congress of the Political Bureau. In this article: “Yanjmaa wants to be proud of herself. Therefore, she writes this. She wrote this statement to declare herself a person who deserves the highest award among Mongolian women.” On June 13, 1949, this issue was discussed by the Political Bureau, and the Political Bureau issued a Resolution under the heading “On non-partisan behavior of Yanjmaa”. This Resolution contained five articles. It says that, in recent times, Yanjmaa began to take advantage of its official and party position, and began to praise itself. This case was repeated several times. In the 1946 edition, an article was published entitled “About Yanjmaa, an outstanding woman of Mongolia”. The author of this article is the secretary of Yanjmaa - Saraamaa. Yanjmaa told to praise herself in this article, which violates party behavior. Yanjmaa is the wife of the great leader of the Mongolian Popular Revolution Sukhbaatar, so this time we show mercy and decide to send her to retire. It was also decided to annul the Saraamaa’s article about Yanjmaa and the article on the Eighth of March.

But on March 3, 1958, by the Resolution of the Political Bureau of the Central Party Administration, the post of Chairman of the Central Committee of Mongolian Women was combined with the obligation of the Partisan Commission.

During the service to the people and homeland, Yanjmaa, for the sake of enlightenment and development of Mongolian women and children, played an important role in the adoption of state policy. In 1925, at the Congress of the MPRP, was decided to ensure the participation of women in the political and public life of the state on an equal basis with men. This decision served as the basis for the further advancement of the law and social activity of Mongolian women. On May 15, 1925, on her initiative, the Division for Women’s Affairs was organized in six districts of the city of Ulaanbaatar. That year, 72 women members of trade union were sent to study at a party school. From 1927, women who graduated from this school began to be appointed to serve in the provinces. In 1931, the Women’s School was formed in Mongolia.

The 1940 MPRP program indicated the improvement of women’s equal rights, their level of education and political knowledge. And it was also indicated to start an active struggle against forced marriage and other forms of violence against women. The main work was organized by Yanjmaa. Although left without a husband at an early age, she did not sit with folded hands. Yanjmaa continued the manual production of the soldier’s uniform, which was initiated by Pagmadulam, the first Chairwoman of the Mongolian Women’s Organization. Yanjmaa was closely friends with the wives of Russian officers, she herself learned the skill and taught others, which became the basis of the “Burte” factory for the production of military uniforms. Therefore, this plant was later named in her honor. Doljin T., in her book “Women who have played a role in establishing Mongolian statehood” wrote about Yanjmaa that she helped widows who lost their husbands in the struggle for the independence of the country. On her initiative, they started giving allowances to women with many children, built a house for mothers and children, a department for guardianship of children, and children’s camps. When she worked in a women’s organization, she created a fund to help widows, launched an initiative to help women who gave birth to twins. In 1930, the first kindergarten was built in the capital.

Yanjmaa worked in 1961 as a Chairwoman of the Mongolian Women’s Committee. She died in January 1962. On January 8, 1962 at the congress of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the MPRP, it was decided to honor her memory and name the kindergarten No. 19 of the city of Ulaanbaatar after her name.

Journalist and Editor Shurentsetseg Yu.

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