Author Archives: surhan

Mongolian Studies in China


Early in 1979 the Central Nationalities Institute (Zhongyang minzu xueyuan) in Beijing invited me to spend the summer of that year with them. I decided to stay for two months with the institute and another two weeks in Inner Mongolia. My time was spent inspecting library holdings on Mon­golia and preparing bibliographical entries for over 1,000 books and book chap­ters which will be included in Parts II and III of the Bibliotheca Mongolica. This report is based on my brief residence in Beijing and Huhehot and will address itself to institution and publications.

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Zentralasiatische Studien des Seminars Fur Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaft, Zentralasiens der Universitat Bonn. Kommissionsverlag Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, 1980

Citation Information

Henry G. Schwarz. “Mongolian Studies in China” Zentralasiatische Studien Vol. 14 Iss. 1 (1980)
Available at:

Vesna Wallace, Mongolist Scholar, USA

Vesna Wallace, ProfessorPh.D., UC BerkeleyArea:South Asian Studies


The main methodological approach to my field of study will continue to consist of the following: philological and textual study, and philosophical, historical, critical, and comparative analyses of the Buddhist traditions of South Asia, Tibet,and Mongolia.



    Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society. Edited by Vesna A. Wallace.

    New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    The Kālacakratantra: The Chapter on Sādhana together with the Vimalaprabhā. Tanjur

    Translation Initiative, Treasury of Buddhist Sciences Series. New York: American

    Institute of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, co-published with the Columbia University’s Center for Buddhist Studies and Tibet House. 2010. (Reviewed by Tadeusz Skorupski in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 75, Issue 03, October 2012: 590-592.)


    The Kālacakratantra: The Chapter on the Individual together with the Vimalaprabhā.

    Tanjur Translation Initiative, Treasury of Buddhist Sciences Series. New York: American Institute of Buddhist Studies, co-published with the Columbia University’s Center for Buddhist Studies and Tibet House, 2004. (Annotated translation from Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mongolian, together with a critical edition of the Mongolian text.)

    The Inner Kālacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual. New York: Oxford

    University Press, 2001.


    A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. Bodhicāryāvatāra. Translated from Sanskrit and Tibetan by Vesna A. Wallace and B. Alan Wallace. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1997.


    A Textbook for the First Year Intensive Serbo-Croatian. Co-author. Washington DC, State

    Department, 1988.




    “Linguistic Arguments and Exegesis in Indian Tantric Buddhism: Intention and Interpretation.”

    In Buddhism and LinguisticsTheory and Philosophy. Edited by Manel Herat. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.


    “Selections from a Manual of Buddhist Medicine.” In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of

                Premodern Sources: 363-370. Edited by C. Pierce Salguero. New York: Columbia             University Press, 2017.


    “Remarks on the Tibetan Language-based Manuscripts and Xylographs in Mongolia and on the

    Technology of Their Production.” In Tibetan Manuscripts and Xylograph TraditionsThe Written Word and Its Media within the Tibetan Cultural Sphere. Hamburg: Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Universität Hamburg, 2016.


    “Contemporary Mongolian Buddhism.” Co-authored with Christine Murphy. In Oxford

    Handbook on Contemporary Buddhism. Edited by Michael Jerryson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.


    “Homa Rituals in the Indian Kālacakra Tradition.” In Homa Variations: The Study of Ritual

    Change across the Lounge Durée. Edited by Richard K. Payne and Michael Witzel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “Rendering Buddhism into Mongolian Language: Mongols’ Translation Methods of Buddhist

    Texts.” In Festschrift to Robert A. F. Thurman in Honor of the Seventieth Birthday. Edited by Christian, K. Wedemeyer, John D. Dunne, and Thomas F. Yarnall. New York:

    American Institute of Buddhist Studies and Columbia University Press, 2015.


    “Competing Religious Conversions and Re-Conversions in Contemporary Mongolia.” In

    Conversion in Late Antiquity: Christianity, Islam, and Beyond. Edited by Arietta Papaconstantinou, Neil McLynn, and Daniel Schwartz. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015.


    “The Method-and-Wisdom Model in the Theoretical Syncretism of the Traditional Mongolian

    Medicine.” In Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan, ed. Disease, Religion, and Healing in Asia: Collaborations and Collisions. London: Routledge, 2015. (Revised reprint of “The Method-and-Wisdom Model of the Medical Body in Traditional Mongolian Medicine,” previously published in the ArcThe Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University).


    “Introduction.” In Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society. Edited by Vesna A.

    Wallace. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “Envisioning a Mongolian Buddhist Identity Through Chinggis Khan.” In Buddhism in

    Mongolian History, Culture, and Society. Edited by Vesna A. Wallace. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “How Vajrapāṇi Became a Mongol.” In Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society.

    Edited by Vesna A. Wallace. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “What Do Protective Deities, Mongolian Heroes, and Fast Steeds Have in Common?” In

    Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society. Edited by Vesna A. Wallace. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “Buddhist Sacred Mountains, Auspicious Landscapes, and Their Agency.” In Buddhism in

    Mongolian History, Culture, and Society. Edited by Vesna A. Wallace. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


    “Buddhist Laws in Mongolia.” In Buddhism and Law: Introduction. Edited by Rebecca Redwood

    French and Mark A. Nathan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.


    “Bakula Arhat’s Journeys to the North: The Life and Work of the Nineteenth Kushok Bakula in

    Russia and Mongolia.” In Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners.” Edited by Todd Lewis. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2014.


    “Buddhist Laws in Mongolia.” In Collective Wisdom: Preservation and Development of

    Buddhism. Edited by B. M. Pande. New Delhi: Asoka Mission and Banarsidass Publishers, 2013. (A published lecture delivered at the International Buddhist Congress in New Delhi)


    “Practical Applications of the Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra and Madhyamaka in the Kālacakra

    Tantric Tradition.” In Companion to Buddhist Philosophy. Edited by Steven Emmanuel. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2013.


    “Can Buddhism and Science be Reconciled?” In The Maitreya Era: Perspectives on Social

    Development. First International, Academic Conference. Ulaanbaatar: Maidar San, 2013.


    “Mongolian Livestock Rituals and Their Appropriations, Adaptations, and Permutations. In

    Understanding Religious Rituals: Theoretical Approaches and Innovations. Edited by John Hoffmann. London: Routledge, 2011.


    “The Six-phased Yoga of the Abbreviated Wheel of Time Tantra (Laghukālacakratantra)

    According to Vajrapāṇi.” In Yoga in Practice. Edited by David Gordon White. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.


    “The Legalized Violence:” Punitive Measures of Buddhist Khans in Mongolia.” In Buddhist

    Warfare. Edited by Mark Juergensmeyer and Michael Jerryson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.


    “Texts as Deities: Mongols’ Rituals of Worshipping Sūtras and Rituals of Accomplishing

    Various Goals by Means of Sūtras.” In Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism. Edited by José I. Cabezón. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.


    “The Body as a Text and the Text as the Body: A View from the Kālacakratantra’s

    Perspective.” In As Long as Space Endures: Essays on the Kālacakra Tantra in Honor of H. H. The Dalai Lama. Edited by Edward A. Arnold. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2009.


    “Medicine and Astrology in the Healing Arts of the Kālacakratantra.” In As Long as Space

    Endures: Essays on the Kālacakra Tantra in Honor of H. H. The Dalai Lama. Edited by Edward A. Arnold. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 2009.


    “Diverse Aspects of the Mongolian Buddhist Manuscript Culture and Realms of Its Influence.”

    In Buddhist Manuscript CultureKnowledge, Ritual, and Art. Edited by Steven Berkwitz, Juliane Schober, and Claudia Brown. London: Routledge, 2008.


    “A Convergence of Medical and Astro-Sciences in Indian Tantric Buddhism: A Case of the

    Kālacakratantra.” In Astro-Medicine: Astrology and Medicine, East and West. Micrologus’ Library, 25. Edited by Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim. Florence, Italy: Sismel Edzioni del Galluzzo, 2008.


    “A Generation of Power Through Ritual Protection and Transformation of Identity in Indian

    Tantric Buddhism.” In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures. Edited by Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathen. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. (The paper was previously published in the Journal of Ritual Studies)


    “The Methodological Relevance of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship to the Study of

    Buddhism.” In Buddhist Theology: Critical Reflections of Contemporary Buddhist Scholars. Edited by John Makransky and Roger Jackson. London: Curzon Press, 1999.


    “Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Perspective on the Treatment of Mentally Retarded Children in Latin

    America.” In Ethics and World ReligionsCross-cultural Case Studies, ed. by Regina, Wentzel, Wolfe and Christine E. Gudorf. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999.



    “Buddhist Medicine in India.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. DOI:             10.1093/acrefore/970199340378.013.616: February, 2018:1-30.


    “The Interface of Mongolian Nomadic Culture, Law and Monastic Sexual Morality.” Buddhism,             Law, and Society, Vol. 2 (2018): 57-75


    “Quantitative Historical Analyses Uncover a Single Dimension of Complexity that Structures             Global Variation in Human Social Organization.” Proceedings of the National             Academy of Sciences. ( Co-authored             with a group of scholars from social sciences and humanities.


    “Buddhism and Legislative Measures on Theft in Mongolia (The 18th Century-the Early 20th

    (Century).” Religions (2017), 8, 240: doi:10.3390/rel8110240             (www.mdpi/journal/religions). Basel, Switzerland, 2017.


    “Thoughts on Originality, Reuse, and Intertextuality in Buddhist Literature Derived from the

    Contributions to the Volume.” 2016. Buddhist Studies Review. Journal of the U.K Association of Buddhist Studies, Vol. 33.1-2 (2016): 233-239. London: Equinox Publishing, Ltd.


    “Mongolian Adaptations of Utopian Alternatives in the Legends of Śambhala and Their

    Eschatological Narratives. Journal of Tibetology. Center for Tibetan Studies of Sichuan University, Chendgu, China, 2016.


    “Local Literatures: Mongolia.” In Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Edited by Jonathan Silk.

    Leiden: Brill, 2015.


    “The Method-and-Wisdom Model of the Medical Body in Traditional Mongolian Medicine.”

    ArcThe Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, Vol. 40 (2012): 1-22.


    “Living Texts and Open Canons in the Mahāyāna Buddhism.” 2012. Thai International Journal

    of Buddhist Studies, Vol. 3 (2012): 77-89.


    “A Brief Exploration of Late Indian Buddhist Exegeses of the ‘Mantrayāna and Mantranaya.”
    Pacific WorldJournal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Third Series, No. 13, Special

    Section: Recent Research on Esoteric Buddhism, Fall 2011: 95-111.


    “A Response to Geoffrey Samuel’s Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Hints from the Mahāyāna

    Tradition.” International Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3, December, 2011: 333-337.


    “Mongolia.” In Encyclopedia of Global Religion. Vol. 2. Edited by W. Clark Roof and Mark

    Juergensmeyer. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference, 2011: 819.


    “Mongol Empire.” In Encyclopedia of Global Religion. Vol. 2. Edited by W. Clark Roof and

    Mark Juergensmeyer. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference, 2011: 819-20.


    “Why is the Bodiless (anaṅga) Gnostic Body (jñāna-kāya) Considered a Body?” Journal of

    Indian Philosophy, Vol. 37, No. 1, February 2009: 45-60.


    “Mediating the Power of Dharma: The Mongols’ Approaches to Reviving Buddhism in

    Mongolia.” The Silk Road Journal, No. 6/1, (2008): 36-45, 2008.


    “The Provocative Character of the ‘Mystical’ Discourses on the Absolute Body in Indian Tantric,

    Buddhism. Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Third Series, Number 6, Fall 2004, issued in 2006: 245-57.


    “A Generation of Power Through Ritual Protection and Transformation of Identity in

    Indian Tantric Buddhism.” Journal of Ritual Studies, Special Issue on “Ritual and the

    Ritual Expression of Identity in Asia,” Vol. 19, Number 1, 2005: 115-28.


    “Kālacakra.” In Encyclopedia of ReligionSecond Edition, Vol. 8. New York: Macmillan

    Reference, 2005: 5056-5059.


    “The Buddhist Tantric Medicine in the Kālacakratantra.” The Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, New Series, Nos. 11-12 (1995): 155-74,1995.



    “Georgios T. Halkias. Luminous Bliss: A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet.

    335 pp. Pure Land Buddhist Studies Series. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2013.” The International Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 02 (January, 2015): 113-115. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2015.


    Religious Bodies Politics: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism.” By Anya Bernstein.

    Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013. xvii, 258 pp.” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 73, Issue 04, (November 2014): 1130-1131.


    “Caroline Humphrey and Hürelbaatar Ujeed. Monastery in Time: The Making of Mongolian

    Buddhism. 426 pp. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 77-2, (2014): 398-399. Published by Cambridge University Press.


    “Review of the Dictionary of Sonom Gara’s Erdeni-yin Sang: A Middle Mongol Version of the

    Tibetan Sa skya Legs bshad. Mongol – English – Tibetan. Edited by Görgy Kara with the assistance of Marta Kiripolská. Brill’s Inner Asian Library, vol. 23. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2009. Pp. xxix-337. University. Religious Studies Review, Vol. 37, Issue 4, December 2011: 304.


    “Brian Bauman. Divine Knowledge: Buddhist Mathematics According to the Anonymous Manual

    of Mongolian Astrology and Divination. Leiden: Brill, 2008.” In Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 69, Issue 01, Feb., 2010: 244-245.

    “Eva Jane Neumann Friedman, Sacred Geography: Shamanism Among the Buddhist Peoples of

    Russia. Bibliotheca Shamanistica, vol. 12. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 2004.” In Religion, Vol. 36, Issue 1, 2006.

    “Walther Heissig and Klaus Sagaster, eds. Gedanke und Wirkung. Festschrift für Nikolaus Poppe zum 90. Geburtstag Asiatische Forschungen: Monographienreihe Zur Geschichte, Kultur und Sprache der Völker Ost-und Zentralasiens, Band 108.” Wiesbadden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1989. In Asian Folklore Studies, Vol. 50(1), 1992, Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan

Instructional and Documentary Films:

  • “Revival of Buddhism in Mongolia: Part 1& Part 2.” Santa Barbara: Erdene Productions, 2004 (Executive Producer, Researcher, and Narrative Writer)
  • “Shaman in the City: Ulaanbaatar, Outer Mongolia.” Santa Barbara: Erdene Productions, 2003 (Executive Producer, Researcher, and Narrative Writer)
  • “Revival of the Traditional Mongolian Culture.” Santa Barbara: Erdene Productions, 2004 (Executive Producer, Researcher, and Narrative Writer)

Courses Taught:

  • RS 4: Introduction to Buddhism
  • RS 111B: Religions of Mongolia
  • RS 161C: Buddhist Tantric Traditions
  • RS 162A: Indian Philosophy
  • RS 164A: Buddhist Traditions in South Asia
  • RS 164C: Buddhist Ethics
  • RS 193B: Religion and Healing in Global Perspective
  • RS 202A: Buddhist Literature in Pali
  • RS 206F: Seminar in South Asian Philosophical Traditions
  • RS 207F: Philosophical Literature
  • RS RS 207H: Sanskrit Buddhist Literature
  • RS RS 207I: Jaina Literature in Sanskrit
  • RS RS 216B: Seminar in Theravada Buddhism
  • RS RS 256: Seminar in Jain Studies



Hosted by


in partnership with THE EMBASSY OF MONGOLIA

with contributions from Mongol-American Cultural Association

Pyramide Granite LLC (Mr. Delgertsogt Manaljav and Mr. Olziikhuyag Dash)

Dr. Sanj Altan


Media Sponsors

Өдрийн сонин – Dailynews, Mongolia


NTV, Mongolia

MAY 13-14, 2016

The Embassy of Mongolia

2833 M Street NW, Washington D.C, 20007






H.E. Altangerel Bulgaa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the United States of America

Dr. Saruul-Erdene Myagmar, President, the Mongolian Cultural Center


Zorigt Ganbold – Washington DC Area Buddhist Community

* Traditional Buddhism of 21st Century

Nancy Steinhardt – University of Pennsylvania

Reinterpreting Liao Architecture: Mongolia to Korea

Tserendagva Dalkh, Batnairamdal Chuluun – Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences

* Research History of Mongolian Traditional Medicine

12:00 LUNCH

After lunch Conference moves to Library of Congress.

10 1st St., SE, Thomas Jefferson Building, Asian Division, LJ150



Archives and History in Mongolia and America

15:00 Introduction for Mongolian Collection in Library of Congress

Susan Meinheit, Asian Division, LOC.





Urangua Jamsran – National University of Mongolia

* ХХ зууны эхний 20 жилийн Монголын түүхийг эргэн харахуйд: Монголын тусгаар тогтнол бүрэн эрхт байдал

Christopher Atwood – Indiana University

Historic Geography of Naiman

Ishaq Mohammadi

Hazara Mongol, Their Lineage and Some Common Customs with Home Land Mongols

12:00 LUNCH


Irina Gomboin – Lomonosov Moscow State University

Problems of Translation of the Key Terms of the Bible into Buryat Mongolian Language

Simon Wickhamsmith – Rutgers University

  1. Tsevegmid and the Poetry of Socialism

Saruul-Erdene Myagmar – Mongolian Cultural Center

Mongoose or Mouse: On the Tradition of Equivalent Translation

14:45 Tea Break


Alimaa Jamyansuren – Peregrine Academic Services

Evaluating Mongolian Undergraduate Business Program Effectiveness

Ulziisaikhan Sereeter – Independent Research Institute of Mongolia

Barriers to Access of Quality Education for Children with Disabilities in Mongolia

Sunmin Yoon – University of Delaware

“Zagasan Shureet Tamga”: Sound of Mongolia?



Hosted by H.E. Altangerel Bulgaa, Ambassador of Mongolia to the United States of America

Performance by the

Singer: Saran Erdenebat (Mongolian Cultural Center) and

Morin khuur player: Khatanbold Urlagbaatar

Int’l conference on Mongolian culture kicks off in Ulan Bator

ULAN BATOR, July 23 (Xinhua) — An international conference on Mongolian culture kicked off here Monday, with the aim to promote Mongolia’s heritage globally.

The conference is themed “Culture World of the Mongols: Heritage, Values and Arts.”

The conference aims to discuss how scholars from home and abroad can inject new impetus into Mongolian studies, explore the depths of Mongolian spiritual life through enhanced cultural and art research and nurture young experts in Mongolian studies for the future, said Erdenetsogt Sonintogos, director of the Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture, at the opening ceremony.

The two-day event is co-organized by the university and the International Association for Mongol Studies.

Scholars from 12 countries including Mongolia, China, Russia, Poland, Turkey and Austria are participating.

Source: Xinhua   2018-07-23 17:04:15

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Human Relations Area Files, 755 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) is an internationally recognized organization in the field of cultural anthropology. Founded in 1949 at Yale University, HRAF is a not-for-profit membership consortium of universities, colleges, and research institutions. Its mission is to encourage and facilitate the cross-cultural study of human culture, society and behavior in the past and present.

In the 1930s, behavioral scientists at Yale’s Institute of Human Relations started to develop a collection of cultural materials classified by subject at the paragraph-level enabling quick access to research materials. HRAF grew out of these efforts. Today, HRAF is committed to developing dynamic, fully-indexed electronic collections online. HRAF has two electronic collections: eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology.  Availability of HRAF collections is limited to members of the HRAF consortium. Learn more about HRAF’s history in our timeline.

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Kievan Rus’ and Mongol Periods

[Excerpted from Russia: A Country Study, Glenn E. Curtis, ed. (Washington, DC: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1996).

Historical Setting

EACH OF THE MANY NATIONALITIES of Russia has a separate history and complex origins. The historical origins of the Russian state, however, are chiefly those of the East Slavs, the ethnic group that evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples. The major pre-Soviet states of the East Slavs were, in chronological order, medieval Kievan Rus’, Muscovy, and the Russian Empire. Three other states–Poland, Lithuania, and the Mongol Empire–also played crucial roles in the historical development of Russia.

The first East Slavic state, Kievan Rus’, emerged along the Dnepr River valley, where it controlled the trade route between Scandinavia and the Byzantine Empire. Kievan Rus’ adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in the tenth century, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next thousand years. Kievan Rus’ ultimately disintegrated as a state because of the armed struggles among members of the princely family that collectively possessed it. Conquest by the Mongols in the thirteenth century was the final blow in this disintegration; subsequently, a number of states claimed to be the heirs to the civilization and dominant position of Kievan Rus’. One of those states, Muscovy, was a predominantly Russian territory located at the far northern edge of the former cultural center. Muscovy gradually came to dominate neighboring territories, forming the basis for the future Russian Empire.

Muscovy had significant impact on the civilizations that followed, and they adopted many of its characteristics, including the subordination of the individual to the state. This idea of the dominant state derived from the Slavic, Mongol, and Byzantine heritage of Muscovy, and it later emerged in the unlimited power of the tsar. Both individuals and institutions, even the Russian Orthodox Church, were subordinate to the state as it was represented in the person of the autocrat.

A second characteristic of Russian history has been continual territorial expansion. Beginning with Muscovy’s efforts to consolidate Russian territory as Tatar control waned in the fifteenth century, expansion soon went beyond ethnically Russian areas; by the eighteenth century, the principality of Muscovy had become the huge Russian Empire, stretching from Poland eastward to the Pacific Ocean. Size and military might made Russia a major power, but its acquisition of large territories inhabited by non-Russian peoples began an enduring pattern of nationality problems.

Expansion westward sharpened Russia’s awareness of its backwardness and shattered the isolation in which the initial stages of expansion had taken place. Muscovy was able to develop at its own pace, but the Russian Empire was forced to adopt Western technology to compete militarily in Europe. Under this exigency, Peter the Great (r. 1682-1725) and subsequent rulers attempted to modernize the country. Most such efforts struggled with indifferent success to raise Russia to European levels of technology and productivity. The technology that Russia adopted brought with it Western cultural and intellectual currents that changed the direction in which Russian culture developed. As Western influence continued, native and foreign cultural values began a competition that survives in vigorous form in the 1990s. The nature of Russia’s relationship with the West became an enduring obsession of Russian intellectuals.

Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War (1853-56) triggered another attempt at modernization, including the emancipation of the peasants who had been bound to the land in the system of serfdom. Despite major reforms enacted in the 1860s, however, agriculture remained inefficient, industrialization proceeded slowly, and new social problems emerged. In addition to masses of peasants seeking land to till, a new class of industrial workers–the proletariat–and a small but influential group of middle-class professionals were dissatisfied with their positions. The non-Russian populations resented periodic official Russification campaigns and struggled for autonomy. Successive regimes of the nineteenth century responded to such pressures with a combination of halfhearted reform and repression, but no tsar was willing to cede autocratic rule or share power. Gradually, the monarch and the state system that surrounded him became isolated from the rest of society. In the last decades of the nineteenth century, some intellectuals became more radical, and groups of professional revolutionaries emerged.

In spite of its internal problems, Russia continued to play a major role in international politics. However, unexpected defeat in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 sparked a revolution in 1905. At that stage, professionals, workers, peasants, minority ethnic groups, and soldiers demanded fundamental reforms. Reluctantly, Nicholas II responded to the first of Russia’s revolutions by granting a limited constitution, but he increasingly circumvented its democratic clauses, and autocracy again took command in the last decade of the tsarist state. World War I found Russia unready for combat but full of patriotic zeal. However, as the government proved incompetent and conditions worsened, war weariness and revolutionary pressures increased, and the defenders of the autocracy grew fewer.

Early History

Many ethnically diverse peoples migrated onto the East European Plain, but the East Slavs remained and gradually became dominant. Kievan Rus’, the first East Slavic state, emerged in the ninth century A.D. and developed a complex and frequently unstable political system that flourished until the thirteenth century, when it declined abruptly. Among the lasting achievements of Kievan Rus’ are the introduction of a Slavic variant of the Eastern Orthodox religion and a synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures. The disintegration of Kievan Rus’ played a crucial role in the evolution of the East Slavs into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian peoples.

The Inhabitants of the East European Plain

Long before the organization of Kievan Rus’, Iranian and other peoples lived in the area of present-day Ukraine. The best known of those groups was the nomadic Scythians, who occupied the region from about 600 B.C. to 200 B.C. and whose skill in warfare and horsemanship is legendary. Between A.D. 100 and A.D. 900, Goths and nomadic Huns, Avars, and Magyars passed through the region in their migrations. Although some of them subjugated the Slavs in the region, those tribes left little of lasting importance. More significant in this period was the expansion of the Slavs, who were agriculturists and beekeepers as well as hunters, fishers, herders, and trappers. By A.D. 600, the Slavs were the dominant ethnic group on the East European Plain.

Little is known of the origin of the Slavs. Philologists and archaeologists theorize that the Slavs settled very early in the Carpathian Mountains or in the area of present-day Belarus. By A.D. 600, they had split linguistically into southern, western, and eastern branches. The East Slavs settled along the Dnepr River in what is now Ukraine; then they spread northward to the northern Volga River valley, east of modern-day Moscow, and westward to the basins of the northern Dnestr and the western Bug rivers, in present-day Moldova and southern Ukraine. In the eighth and ninth centuries, many East Slavic tribes paid tribute to the Khazars, a Turkic-speaking people who adopted Judaism about A.D. 740 and lived in the southern Volga and Caucasus regions.

The East Slavs and the Varangians

By the ninth century, Scandinavian warriors and merchants, called Varangians, had penetrated the East Slavic regions. According to the Primary Chronicle , the earliest chronicle of Kievan Rus’, a Varangian named Rurik first established himself in Novgorod, just south of modern-day St. Petersburg, in about 860 before moving south and extending his authority to Kiev. The chronicle cites Rurik as the progenitor of a dynasty that ruled in Eastern Europe until 1598. Another Varangian, Oleg, moved south from Novgorod to expel the Khazars from Kiev and founded Kievan Rus’ about A.D. 880. During the next thirty-five years, Oleg subdued the various East Slavic tribes. In A.D. 907, he led a campaign against Constantinople, and in 911 he signed a commercial treaty with the Byzantine Empire as an equal partner. The new Kievan state prospered because it controlled the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and because it had an abundant supply of furs, wax, honey, and slaves for export. Historians have debated the role of the Varangians in the establishment of Kievan Rus’. Most Russian historians–especially in the Soviet era–have stressed the Slavic influence in the development of the state. Although Slavic tribes had formed their own regional jurisdictions by 860, the Varangians accelerated the crystallization of Kievan Rus’.

The Golden Age of Kiev

The region of Kiev dominated the state of Kievan Rus’ for the next two centuries. The grand prince of Kiev controlled the lands around the city, and his theoretically subordinate relatives ruled in other cities and paid him tribute. The zenith of the state’s power came during the reigns of Prince Vladimir (r. 978-1015) and Prince Yaroslav (the Wise; r. 1019-54). Both rulers continued the steady expansion of Kievan Rus’ that had begun under Oleg. To enhance their power, Vladimir married the sister of the Byzantine emperor, and Yaroslav arranged marriages for his sister and three daughters to the kings of Poland, France, Hungary, and Norway. Vladimir’s greatest achievement was the Christianization of Kievan Rus’, a process that began in 988. He built the first great edifice of Kievan Rus’, the Desyatinnaya Church in Kiev. Yaroslav promulgated the first East Slavic law code, Rus’ka pravda (Justice of Rus’); built cathedrals named for St. Sophia in Kiev and Novgorod; patronized local clergy and monasticism; and is said to have founded a school system. Yaroslav’s sons developed Kiev’s great Peshcherskiy monastyr’ (Monastery of the Caves), which functioned in Kievan Rus’ as an ecclesiastical academy.

Vladimir’s choice of Eastern Orthodoxy reflected his close personal ties with Constantinople, which dominated the Black Sea and hence trade on Kiev’s most vital commercial route, the Dnepr River. Adherence to the Eastern Orthodox Church had long-range political, cultural, and religious consequences. The church had a liturgy written in Cyrillic and a corpus of translations from the Greek that had been produced for the South Slavs. The existence of this literature facilitated the East Slavs’ conversion to Christianity and introduced them to rudimentary Greek philosophy, science, and historiography without the necessity of learning Greek. In contrast, educated people in medieval Western and Central Europe learned Latin. Because the East Slavs learned neither Greek nor Latin, they were isolated from Byzantine culture as well as from the European cultures of their neighbors to the west.

In the centuries that followed the state’s foundation, Rurik’s purported descendants shared power over Kievan Rus’. Princely succession moved from elder to younger brother and from uncle to nephew, as well as from father to son. Junior members of the dynasty usually began their official careers as rulers of a minor district, progressed to more lucrative principalities, and then competed for the coveted throne of Kiev.

In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the princes and their retinues, which were a mixture of Varangian and Slavic elites and small Finno-Ugric and Turkic elements, dominated the society of Kievan Rus’. Leading soldiers and officials received income and land from the princes in return for their political and military services. Kievan society lacked the class institutions and autonomous towns that were typical of West European feudalism. Nevertheless, urban merchants, artisans, and laborers sometimes exercised political influence through a city assembly, the veche, which included all the adult males in the population. In some cases, the veche either made agreements with their rulers or expelled them and invited others to take their place. At the bottom of society was a small stratum of slaves. More important was a class of tribute-paying peasants, who owed labor duty to the princes; the widespread personal serfdom characteristic of Western Europe did not exist in Kievan Rus’, however.

The Rise of Regional Centers

Kievan Rus’ was not able to maintain its position as a powerful and prosperous state, in part because of the amalgamation of disparate lands under the control of a ruling clan. As the members of that clan became more numerous, they identified themselves with regional interests rather than with the larger patrimony. Thus, the princes fought among themselves, frequently forming alliances with outside groups such as the Polovtsians, Poles, and Hungarians. The Crusades brought a shift in European trade routes that accelerated the decline of Kievan Rus’. In 1204 the forces of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, making the Dnepr trade route marginal. As it declined, Kievan Rus’ splintered into many principalities and several large regional centers. The inhabitants of those regional centers then evolved into three nationalities: Ukrainians in the southeast and southwest, Belorussians in the northwest, and Russians in the north and northeast.

In the north, the Republic of Novgorod prospered as part of Kievan Rus’ because it controlled trade routes from the Volga River to the Baltic Sea. As Kievan Rus’ declined, Novgorod became more independent. A local oligarchy ruled Novgorod; major government decisions were made by a town assembly, which also elected a prince as the city’s military leader. In the twelfth century, Novgorod acquired its own archbishop, a sign of increased importance and political independence. In its political structure and mercantile activities, Novgorod resembled the north European towns of the Hanseatic League, the prosperous alliance that dominated the commercial activity of the Baltic region between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, more than the other principalities of Kievan Rus’.

In the northeast, East Slavs colonized the territory that eventually became Muscovy by intermingling with the Finno-Ugric tribes already occupying the area. The city of Rostov was the oldest center of the northeast, but it was supplanted first by Suzdal’ and then by the city of Vladimir. By the twelfth century, the combined principality of Vladimir-Suzdal’ had become a major power in Kievan Rus’.

In 1169 Prince Andrey Bogolyubskiy of Vladimir-Suzdal’ dealt a severe blow to the waning power of Kievan Rus’ when his armies sacked the city of Kiev. Prince Andrey then installed his younger brother to rule in Kiev and continued to rule his realm from Suzdal’. Thus, political power shifted to the northeast, away from Kiev, in the second half of the twelfth century. In 1299, in the wake of the Mongol invasion, the metropolitan of the Orthodox Church moved to the city of Vladimir, and Vladimir-Suzdal’ replaced Kievan Rus’ as the religious center.

To the southwest, the principality of Galicia-Volhynia had highly developed trade relations with its Polish, Hungarian, and Lithuanian neighbors and emerged as another successor to Kievan Rus’. In the early thirteenth century, Prince Roman Mstislavich united the two previously separate principalities, conquered Kiev, and assumed the title of grand duke of Kievan Rus’. His son, Prince Daniil (Danylo; r. 1238-64) was the first ruler of Kievan Rus’ to accept a crown from the Roman papacy, apparently doing so without breaking with Orthodoxy. Early in the fourteenth century, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Constantinople granted the rulers of Galicia-Volhynia a metropolitan to compensate for the move of the Kievan metropolitan to Vladimir.

However, a long and unsuccessful struggle against the Mongols combined with internal opposition to the prince and foreign intervention to weaken Galicia-Volhynia. With the end of the Mstislavich Dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century, Galicia-Volhynia ceased to exist; Lithuania took Volhynia, and Poland annexed Galicia.

The Mongol Invasion

As it was undergoing fragmentation, Kievan Rus’ faced its greatest threat from invading Mongols. In 1223 an army from Kievan Rus’, together with a force of Turkic Polovtsians, faced a Mongol raiding party at the Kalka River. The Kievan alliance was defeated soundly. Then, in 1237-38, a much larger Mongol force overran much of Kievan Rus’. In 1240 the Mongols sacked the city of Kiev and then moved west into Poland and Hungary. Of the principalities of Kievan Rus’, only the Republic of Novgorod escaped occupation, but it paid tribute to the Mongols. One branch of the Mongol force withdrew to Saray on the lower Volga River, establishing the Golden Horde. From Saray the Golden Horde Mongols ruled Kievan Rus’ indirectly through their princes and tax collectors.

The impact of the Mongol invasion on the territories of Kievan Rus’ was uneven. Centers such as Kiev never recovered from the devastation of the initial attack. The Republic of Novgorod continued to prosper, however, and a new entity, the city of Moscow, began to flourish under the Mongols. Although a Russian army defeated the Golden Horde at Kulikovo in 1380, Mongol domination of the Russian-inhabited territories, along with demands of tribute from Russian princes, continued until about 1480.

Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Russian society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of Kievan Rus’, the breakup of the “Russian” nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of “oriental despotism” into Russia. But most historians agree that Kievan Rus’ was not a homogeneous political, cultural, or ethnic entity and that the Mongols merely accelerated a fragmentation that had begun before the invasion. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.

Kievan Rus’ also left a powerful legacy. The leader of the Rurik Dynasty united a large territory inhabited by East Slavs into an important, albeit unstable, state. After Vladimir accepted Eastern Orthodoxy, Kievan Rus’ came together under a church structure and developed a Byzantine-Slavic synthesis in culture, statecraft, and the arts. On the northeastern periphery of Kievan Rus’, those traditions were adapted to form the Russian autocratic state.


A Study on the Document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement Led by Shin-e Lama

A Study on the Document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement Led by Shin-e Lama  — A Document Written Nearly Sixty Years ago and Never Interpreted

 By Tegusbayar, Inner Mongolia University


A traditional resisting organization is named Duguilang by Mongols, means Circle, and a related document is called the Duguilang-un Bichigesu, means the Circle Signature List of the organization.

A document of Circle Signature List of Duguilang Movement, which led by Shin-e Lama (his given name as Oljeijirgal, 1866-1929), during 20s of 20th century, was published by Yu Yuan’an (1915-1961) in his book of A Brief History of Inner Mongolia ( Shanghai People’s Publishing House), in 1958, as an illustration, he named it as Signature List of the Duguilang Movement. For some reason, this document of Circle Signature List has not been interpreted.

In this paper, according to the document of Circle Signature List which is collected in the Archives of Inner Mongolia (reference manuscript of Yu Yuan’an) and a copy in the Museum of Inner Mongolia, an interpretation is given on the whole content, cleared its purpose and corrected some misunderstandings.

The inner circle described about the meeting reasons of the Anda members of the Duguilang, and recorded the punitive provisions approved by all member of the Duguilang. This part is the longest chapter.

The outer circle is an affidavit, on which written some words as to Swear on for Never Regret.

The middle circle is the signature list of the attendants of the Duguilang, there were 139 attendants in this meeting. This is the origin of the name known as the Signature List.

In this article’s interpretation, author thinks that the document is not only a signature list, but also a notice about the meeting reason, intended purpose, punitive disciplines for those who have violating behaviors, and many other related contents and solemn vows. The document also recorded the spirit of brave and responsible collective action in which everybody participated voluntarily, and Mongol style democracy.

The Circle Signature List was written about between the autumn and winter of the 1926.

Appendix: Chinese translation for the inner and outer circle words by Tegusbayar.

(Translated from Chinese into English by Delger)

source: the website