“Sukhe-Bator's Meeting with Lenin” Sculpture
A gift to the Soviet people on the 40th
anniversary of the October revolution from the Official
Delegation of the People's Republic of Mongolia, 1957
The Snow-white sculpture made of mammoth bone symbolizes
the friendship between the Soviet and Mongolian people.
This is an artistic interpretation of a known historical fact:
the leader of the Mongolian revolution, Damdin Sukhe-Bator,
did visit Moscow to meet leader of the Russian revolution,
Vladimir Lenin, in 1921.
Damdin Sukhe-Bator (in the centre dressed in a light-coloured tunic) with Soviet instructors,
working in Mongolian guerrilla units. Mongolia, Altan-Bulak, May 1921
Agreement between RSFSR and Mongolia. Izvestia Newspaper,
November 11,1921
Both figures are life-like portraits of the Soviet leader
and the Mongolian hero. The Mongolian carver probably took the
typical Lenin pose from the famous canvas “Lenin in Smolny” by the
chief Soviet painter of Lenin's portraits, Isaac Brodsky. We can see pens
and other writing accessories on the round table, as it is supposed that
Lenin and Sukhe-Bator had just signed a Friendship Agreement between
RSFSR and Mongolia. The figures are placed on high pedestals, surrounded
by scenes of the happy life in the dynamically developing state: a great
construction site, development of agriculture, construction
of new cities and factories.
Russia expressed interest
in Mongolia's independence from China from the
beginning of the 20th century. A traditionally
nomadic country, whose capital looked more like
an open nomadic camp by the Buddhist monastery,
got caught in the storm of liberating national
revolutions. They were first supported by the Russian
Empire and then by the Soviet Union. After 1921
new towns started appearing in the clean Mongolian
steppes, designed by the Soviet experts. The capital
city of Ulan-Bator had a special feature: a mausoleum
in the central square, looking very much like the
one in Moscow. This mausoleum held the body of
legendary Sukhe-Bator for several decades. In 2004,
the mausoleum was closed and his body was cremated
according to Buddhist traditions.
One interesting thing is that both characters of this sculpture gave names to big cities.
In 1924 when Lenin died, Russia's Petersburg got the name of Leningrad. The same year the Mongolians renamed
their ancient capital Urgu after the “son” of revolution into Ulan-Bator, which translates as
“the city of the red hero.
Sukhe-Bator on horseback
First monument dedicated to Sukhe-Bator by K. Pomerantsev
Damdin Sukhe-Bator (1893-1923) was an iconic Mongolian politician and
statesman, founder of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and leader of Mongolian
People's Revolution of 1921. The “Great Mongol” lived a short, but eventful life. His compatriots
remember him as the founder of socialist Mongolia. There are streets named after Sukhe-Bator in
Mongolia and Russia. He also made it into books and films.
The Sukhe-Bator Award is one of the highest state awards of Mongolia. Sukhe-Bator's image is on
the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Tugrik banknotes of the PRM, with the rest of them carrying the image
of Genghis Khan.
The exact cause of his death is still unknown, though theories surrounding it include murder,
sickness and poisoning. Today most historians tend to believe that he died of natural causes,
due to flu complications, which caused pneumonia.
He was only 30 years old…
Sukhe-Bator Award