A primary cause of upheaval in Central Asia over the past five years has been the inability of governments in the region to respond to popular concerns and complaints. The leaders of Mongolia appear determined not to make the same kind of mistakes, and in recent months they have taken steps to demonstrate a greater degree of accountability.
Mongolia, though never a constituent part of the Soviet Union, was during the Communist era often referred to jokingly as the "16th republic," and its political system mimicked that which existed in Moscow. And for much of the past two decades, Mongolian leaders practiced a post-Soviet style of electoral politics, in which many promises were proffered during a campaign season only to be forgotten following an election. Lately, however, Mongolian officials have been making a far greater effort to follow up on their pledges, and respond to the desires of the electorate.
"You hear the words ’accountability’ and ’responsibility’ much more often these days," says Ulziikhishig, the director of the School for International Training in Ulaanbaatar, who like many Mongolians uses only one name.
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Andrew Cullen is a freelance journalist based in Hovd, Mongolia.