In postcommunist Eurasia, a region littered with failed democratic experiments and frozen autocracies, Mongolia is an outlier. Mongolian democracy is robust in spite of the country’s high poverty levels and its proximity to nondemocratic regimes. The key to the success of Mongolia’s democracy lies in its powerful civil society. From the first sign of the country’s political opening in 1989 to today, autonomous interest groups and social movements have helped keep officialdom honest (or at minimum, alert) and the polity open. Recent political challenges, however, promise to test civil society’s ability to defend Mongolia’s fledgling democratic institutions against nondemocratic tendencies.


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