One of the important keys to understanding twentieth-century developments in Central Asia—especially in Buriat Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, and Tibet—is an appreciation of the important role played by the Buriat Mongolian intelligentsia. The Buriats, in the words of one of them, " … constituted the cultural avant-garde among the Mongolian tribes, introducing and leading the revolutionary ideas of our time…”

Buriat Mongolia, now an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, includes in its population less than 300,000 Buriats, roughly one-tenth of the total Mongolian population of the world. From this small group, most of whom were illiterate before 1917, arose a group of intellectuals whose influence extended beyond the borders of their homeland to Outer Mongolia and Tibet, and to the smaller areas of Barga (in Manchuria) and Urianghai (incorporated in 1943 into the USSR as the Tannu Tuva Autonomous Oblast'). This Buriat intelligentsia was particularly influential from about 1900 to 1930; in the thirties most of them were purged—killed or sent to concentration camps.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.