55th birth anniversary of S.Zorig marks today

Photo Journalist D.Javkhlhantugs GoGo.mn

2017-04-20 15:15 GMT+8

Today marks the 55th birth anniversary of S.Zorig, a prominent Mongolian politician, and leader of the country's 1990 democratic revolution. Also, he is called the "Golden Swallow of Democracy". 

In 1989 and 1990, S. Zorig played a leading role in the events that led to Mongolia's adoption of a multi-party system. On December 10, 1989, Zorig led a group of 200 activists in a public protest demanding a free-market economy and free elections. 

In June 1990, Zorig was elected into the People`s Great Khural. In August 1991, he was the only prominent Mongolian politician to immediately denounce the coup attempt by Soviet hardliners against Mikhail Gorbachev. He was elected into the State Great Khural both in 1992 and 1996, the first time as a minority member and the second time as a member of the Democratic Union that swept into power as Mongolia's first non-Communist government since the 1921 Communist revolution. Zorig questioned the pace of free-market reforms in Mongolia after the Democrats came to power, believing the reforms weren't fair and would push too many Mongolians below the poverty line. In 1998 he became Mongolia's Minister for Infrastructure.

The year 1998 was a year of political crisis in Mongolia. Ts.Elbegdorj, current President of Mongolia became the new Prime Minister of Mongolia in April 1998, and in one of his first decisions, he sold the state-owned Reconstruction Bank to the private Golomt Bank, which was owned by Mongolian Democrats. Members of the Mongolian People`s Revolutionary Party walked out in protest, and, without a working majority in Parliament, Elbegdorj was forced to resign. The parties conferred and in closed meetings agreed on Infrastructure Minister S. Zorig as a compromise candidate to be the new Prime Minister. The announcement was scheduled for Monday, October 5. 

However, S.Zorig was brutally killed on Friday, October 2, 1998, at his home. The case of the murder comes near to be closed 18 years later. On December 27, 2016, the court sentenced Ts.Amgalanbaatar, B.Sodnomdarjaa, and T.Chimgee with prison terms of 25, 24, and 25 years. Unsatisfied with the results of the trial, S.Zorig’s sister, S.Oyun demanded that the General Prosecutors Office re-investigate the case and find the mastermind behind the murder. In early January, General Prosecutor of Mongolia ordered a working group to thoroughly investigate the possibility of a more prominent figure being behind the murder. Currently, people are waiting for the final decision of the Supreme court. 

After his death, in 1999, a bronze statue of Zorig was erected in Ulaanbaatar city, across the street from the Central Post Office, honoring his memory. The statue faces toward the Government Palace, symbolizing Zorig's morning walk toward his workplace, holding a bag in his left hand and a cigarette in right hand. He used to smoke a cigarette while reading a book and playing chess.

Government heads, members of Democratic Party, his brother S.Bayar, sister S.Oyun, as well as his friends, relatives, and other citizens laid flowers at the monument of S.Zorig today. 

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