Sükhbaataryn Batbold

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Sükhbaataryn Batbold (Sukhbaatar Batbold)
Сүхбаатарын Батболд
24th Prime Minister of Mongolia
In office
29 October 2009 – 10 August 2012
PresidentTsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
DeputyNorovyn Altankhuyag
Preceded bySanjaagiin Bayar
Succeeded byNorovyn Altankhuyag
Chairman of the Mongolian People’s Party
In office
8 April 2010 – 25 July 2012
Preceded bySanjaagiin Bayar
Succeeded byÖlziisaikhany Enkhtüvshin
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia
In office
Preceded bySanjaasürengiyn Oyun
Succeeded byGombojavyn Zandanshatar
Personal details
Born (1963-06-24) June 24, 1963 (age 60)
Choibalsan, Mongolian People's Republic[1]
Political partyMongolian People's Party
Alma materMoscow State Institute of International Relations
Middlesex University London Business School
Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
WebsiteOfficial website

Sükhbaataryn Batbold (Mongolian: Сүхбаатарын Батболд, born June 24, 1963) is a prominent Mongolian political figure and leader, who was Prime Minister of Mongolia from 2009 to 2012, as well as Chairman of the Mongolian People's Party.[2] He was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of his predecessor, Sanjaagiin Bayar.

As all Mongolians, he goes by one name, given at his birth, Batbold. Sukhbaatar is his father's name and Sukhbaataryn literally means "son of Sukhbaatar". So, Sukhbaatar is used as the last name in the Western style documents and Batbold as his first name. Because of this, he may also be recognized as Sukhbaatar Batbold or just Batbold.

Personal life and education[edit]

Batbold was born in far eastern province Dornod of Mongolia to parents who worked as medical doctors in the provincial hospital. As a child Batbold, graduated the 14th high school in Ulaanbaatar, going on to study in Russia at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the former Eastern bloc, between 1980 and 1986. He was one of the first Mongolians to be given an opportunity to receive an education in the West and studied at the Middlesex University London Business School from 1989 till 1991, residing at Netherhall House.[3] He also earned a doctoral degree at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Moscow in 2002.[4]

Batbold previously held an executive position at Mongol Impex Cooperative. In 1992, he established Altai Trading Co. Ltd. (currently Altai Holding LLC), which among others owns the Chinggis Khaan Hotel, Altai Cashmere, E-mart Mongolia hypermarket chain and the Skytel cellular operator.[5] He headed the company until 2000 by which time it became one of the largest Mongolian private companies. After Mongolia started a transition from the one-party authoritarian rule to market economy and democracy, he was one of the first Mongolians to start a private business and grow it to a large corporation.[6] Among all of his businesses, only Chinggus Khaan Hotel was bought from the government at the auction in 1994 as a half finished building in complete ruin, which was completed and served as a flagship hotel till 2016 when Shangri-la entered Mongolia. All other businesses were created from the scratch and introduced new standards of service and competence.

Political career[edit]

Batbold entered Mongolian politics in 2000, by which time he was already an established and well-known businessman. He was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2004 and became a member of the Leadership Council of the Mongolians People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) in 2001.[4][7] During his term as a Deputy Foreign Minister a decision was taken by Mongolia to contribute forces to multinational force in Iraq and Afghanistan (https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/20140903_R41867_27863dd4cab95d3ac35bf0f58237d6b3f7211296.html). He was instrumental in negotiating a visa regime with the USA under which the USA citizens became exempt from Mongolian visa requirements and Mongolian citizens became eligible for 10-year multiple entry visas.

Batbold held the Ulan Bator 75 constituency in the 2004 Mongolian Great Khural election.[7] He then became Cabinet Minister of Trade and Industry between 2004 and 2006.[4] As Minister of Trade and Industry, he contributed actively to the implementation of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States, establishing an ongoing dialogue to help remove barriers to trade between the United States and Mongolia.[8] Also during his term as Minister of Trade and Industry Mongolia was awarded GSP Plus system of trade preferences by the European Union which allowed for preferential access for more than 7000 export items from Mongolia. <[9]>. As cabinet minister, he also proposed for the first time in Mongolia the special tax and regulatory treatment for small and medium businesses by proposing a special legislation to the Parliament.

In the 2008 Great Khural election, Batbold won a seat for the MPRP in the Ulan Bator 23 constituency in the same location of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar as during previous elections.[7] He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2008 until he was nominated to become Prime Minister in 2009.[4] During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he hosted United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ulan Bator to discuss the topic of climate change in Mongolia.[10] Batbold also substituted for then Prime Minister Bayar at a Prime Ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.[11]

Prime Minister and Chairman of Mongolian People's Party[edit]

On October 29, 2009, Batbold was elected as the 26th Prime Minister of Mongolia, succeeding Sanjaa Bayar, who resigned due to health reasons. Batbold received 62 of 66 votes cast by Members of the Mongolian Parliament.[12]

On the 8th of April 2010, Batbold became the Chairman of the MPRP. This was confirmed with an election at the 26th MPRP Congress. During the Party Congress, Batbold was one of three proposed candidates for leadership, the others being Parliament Speaker Demberel Damdin and MP U.Enkhtuvshin. After D.Demberel withdrew his name from the list of candidates, voting continued until 4:30am, ending with Batbold winning a majority of 85% (675 votes from 788 voters).

During the same party conference it was also decided that the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party would revert to its original name, the Mongolian People's Party. (http://en.people.cn/90001/90777/90851/7190654.html; https://montsame.mn/en/read/262575) The name change was proposed by S.Batbold as chairman and Secretary-General of the party Ukhnaa Khurelsukh and signified full transition to the social-democratic values by the Mongolian People's Party. Before 1990, successive leaders of MPRP ruled Mongolia under one-party totalitarian regime and this is the only party among the former communist camp that managed to stay competitive in the new democratic system by transiting to social-democratic values along the line of German Social Democrats and British Labor.[13]

As Prime Minister, Batbold oversaw a number of notable developments.

His cabinet supported the enactment of the Law on Gender Equality in 2011.[14] The law was significant in legislating the notions of legally punishing work place harassment, introducing women's quota in political election nominations, etc.

The reform and modernisation of the Mongolian Stock Exchange[15] was initiated and its Board was filled with respectable independent members for the first time in its history such as Peter Morrow, an American who was one of the most influential figure in establishing the Mongolia's private banking system[16] and Baatar Bold, a Mongolian with many years of experience in international banking and is currently one of the top executives of Rio Tinto,[17] among others. The Board worked closely with London Stock Exchange to reform MSE’s systems. This was the first time in the history of state-owned companies in Mongolia that the board was composed of independent directors outside of government.

The cabinet launched of a collaboration between the Government of Mongolia and a Cambridge University consortium to introduce Cambridge International Education system into Mongolia's public schools and reform primary and secondary education in Mongolia.[18] This was one of the most far reaching educational reform efforts since the 1990s in Mongolia.

Human Development Fund was established that not only paid cash dividends to the public but funded education, health and social insurance.[19] It sought to emulate the experiences of Singapore's Central Provident Fund.

In 2010, Batbold held a cabinet meeting (https://asiafoundation.org/2010/09/01/mongolia-cabinet-meets-in-gobi-desert-to-make-stand-against-global-warming/) in the Gobi desert to draw attention to climate change and the growing threat of desertification in Mongolia.[20]

During his term as Prime Minister, the Mongolian economy grew by 17.5 percent in 2011, one of the highest globally.[21] The poverty rates fell by double digits and household income doubled.[22] This achievement cannot be solely attributed to high mineral prices, as there have been even higher prices before and since his cabinet. Progressive policies that encouraged economic growth and at the same time sought to address social issues at the time of difficult transition were the main reason of such impressive results.

When he visited Canada in 2010 he told to Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that Canada can serve as a role model for Mongolia because of similarities in resource endowments, sparse population, big territory and most importantly in democratic values and development models. This visit sparked exchanges between the two countries in different areas, including efforts to reform the public service along the Canadian example.[23] These efforts culminated in adoption of the revised Law of Civil Service in 2017 by the Parliament of Mongolia. The revised law introduces concepts of minimum required years of service for promotion, increased the independence and powers of Civil Service Commission of Mongolia, tightened merit based requirements for initial recruitment.[24]

Batbold also sought to initiate a transition to "European standards" which he defined as "not only commodities’ and physical’ standards, but also new standards related to laws and regulations, technologies and mindsets, as well as to culture and lifestyle." He proposed in his speech to the Parliament in 2009 as he was taking over as Prime Minister:[25]

"We can learn from our traditional partners’ experiences where they have recently joined the European Union and enjoy the benefits of such new standards. In bringing up their standards they neither re-invent the wheel nor did they re-write laws according to one person’s wishes. What they did was to choose one standard to be followed, starting with changing road standards to adopting anti-corruption laws to suit local conditions and specifics. I believe this is where their successes have come from."

This was a remarkable statement of intention by the country located on a different continent from the European Union to self-adopt its norms and principles on a voluntary and unilateral basis in the absence of any incentives from the European Union. The EU offered its Eastern European Partners (mostly former Soviet republics), as a part of Eastern Partnership initiative, a road towards greater integration with potential of joining the union in accordance with a mutually agreed path of democratic reform and market openness (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/er/107589.pdf). Mongolia, obviously geographically distanced, wasn't part of this initiative, however, it was initiating the "European standards" reforms without any intention or hope of joining the EU but because it saw a value in itself in those reforms. Batbold discussed this initiative when he hosted German Chancellor Merkel in Mongolia (https://archiv.bundesregierung.de/archiv-en/articles/chancellor-angela-merkel-in-viet-nam-and-mongolia-610742).

Batbold hosted many other world dignitaries in Mongolia such as US Vice President Joseph Biden (https://www.rferl.org/a/biden_offers_us_support_for_democratic_mongolia/24304215.html; https://www.mongoliaweekly.org/post/why-mongolia-matters-to-joe-biden) and State Secretary Hillary Clinton (https://www.eastwestcenter.org/system/tdf/private/apb174_0.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=33606; https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2009a/06/124494.htm).

At the same time, Batbold's cabinet adhered to the traditional foreign policy of Mongolia to maintain and strengthen relations with its only two neighbors, Russia and China. He visited Russia in 2010 and met with then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.[26] He also visited China in 2011 and held negotiations with his counterpart China's Premier Wen Jiabao[27] and then Vice President and current President of China Xi Jingpin (https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-06/17/content_12726117.htm). During his time as Prime Minister trade with the two neighbors grew in unprecedented speed.

Batbold's term as Prime Minister saw a remarkable degree of high level visits and exchanges with the country's most significant foreign partners such as Japan (https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/mongolia/batbold_1203/index.html), South Korea (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20110324000949&mod=skb), India (https://news.mn/en/18350/), Australia (https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F577185%22), Singapore (https://www.mfa.gov.sg/Newsroom/Press-Statements-Transcripts-and-Photos/2011/02/Official-Visit-by-Prime-Minister-of-Mongolia-Sukhbaatar-Batbold-1718-February-2011) among many others.

Overall, this policy of maintaining balanced and cooperative relations with the immediate two neighbors and perceived Third neighbors (the term invented by State Secretary James Baker when he visited Mongolia in 1990[28] with whom Mongolia shares common democratic values) has been maintained consistently since the 1990s transition to democracy and market relations.

Ideologically, Batbold is a Third way politician along the lines of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder whose views were very much market based on economics and centrist on social issues, which put them to the right from traditional social democratic views.

Continued political involvement[edit]

Since the end of his term as Prime Minister in 2012, Batbold has remained a Member of Parliament. He is a member of Mongolia's delegation for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly.[29]

He is Vice President of the Socialist International, an international organization registered at the United Nations (whose current Secretary-General António Guterres was Vice President of the Socialist International from 1999 till 2005), that brings together parties around the world on the social democratic platform.[30]

Mr. S.Batbold is a strong supporter of public policy based on knowledge-based research and public debate. Therefore, he is one of the founders of Mongolia Economic Forum and Mongolian Development Strategy Institute,[31] both dedicated to encouraging deeper public policy research and more open debate. He serves as Chairman of the Mongolia Development Strategy Institute, a think tank which hosts international events and undertakes research on public policy issues with significant impact on Mongolia's development trajectory. The institute co-hosted such prestigious international events as Williamsburg Conference in 2007,[32] Northeast Asia Regional Meeting of the Asia Pacific Leadership network for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament in 2017,[33] Boao Forum for Asia Ulaanbaatar Conference in 2019, Regional Energy Workshop in 2019 among others. Its board members and contributors published many books and articles on Mongolia's developmental challenges, trade and diplomacy, security, history, environment and governance.

In November 2014, Batbold was elected to membership in the MPP Chamber of Advisers and in December 2015 he once again joined the MPP Leadership Council. After winning a Parliamentary seat for fifth time in 2020, Batbold was elected chairman of the Great Khural Subcommittee on Special Oversight.[7]

He was named by the party officials as one of the potential candidates for the June 2021 Presidential elections by Mongolian People's Party (https://news.mn/en/794529/) and was nominated by some local party entities. As a result he was target of smear campaign orchestrated by political opponents (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-10/mongolian-president-accused-of-smearing-political-foe-as-corrupt.


Batbold was named in an article by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists' (ICIJ) in 2017 detailing reports from the Panama Papers. It was leaked in the Panama Papers that Batbold had become a shareholder of Batu Mining Limited in 2003, an offshore company created in the British Virgin Islands that owned Batu Mining Mongolia LLC.[34] Batbold then later transferred his shares in the company to Ever Legend Engineering Limited, a company in Hong Kong.[35]

It was later discovered in the Pandora Papers that Batbold had created the Quantum Lake Trust in the British Virgin Islands. The trust owned another British Virgin Islands shell company named Premier Edge Ltd., with Batbold becoming its first shareholder in 2005. In 2006, the shell company purchased 2 luxury in a London apartment worth £11,000,000 in Batbold's son Battushig Batbold's name.[36] The apartments, located between Harrods and Hyde Park in the Knightsbridge district,[37][38] is believed to have been purchased using "illegal kickbacks" from mining deals. A representative of Batbold stated that, "Batbold made no secret of the fact that his family lived in the flats in London during the time when the family members studied and worked there, long before the alleged ‘illegal kickbacks from mining",[37] although the legitimacy of the funds used to purchase the apartments is still uncertain.

In 2020, the High Court of Justice barred Batbold from selling the apartment "during an international £185 million corruption and money-laundering investigation."[38]


  1. ^ "Batbold, Sükhbaataryn", in Historical Dictionary of Mongolia, Alan J. K. Sanders, ed. (Scarecrow Press, 2010) p93
  2. ^ AFP: Mongolia approves new PM Batbold. AFP via Google.com (2009-10-29). Retrieved on 2012-06-29.
  3. ^ "Netherhall News 60th Anniversary Edition".
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  11. ^ "Chinese vice premier meets Mongolian FM". China Daily. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  12. ^ PM S. Batbold elected as the Leader of Mongolian People's Party | Mongolia Business and Mongolian Daily Business News[Usurped!]. Business-mongolia.com (2010-11-06). Retrieved on 2018-03-12.
  13. ^ "Library". Socialist International.
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  15. ^ "LSE seals deal to develop Mongolian Stock Exchange". business-mongolia.com. 8 April 2011. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. ^ "DAI Mourns the Passing of J. Peter Morrow · DAI: International Development". www.dai.com.
  17. ^ "Bold Baatar". www.riotinto.com.
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  19. ^ Alicia Campi (2012-01-10). "Mongolia's Quest to Balance Human Development in its Booming Mineral-Based Economy". Brookings.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  20. ^ "Mongolian Cabinet holds meeting in Gobi desert to draw attention to climate change". foxnews.com. FOX News Network. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Mongolia Economic Update" (PDF). www.worldbank.org. 2013. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  22. ^ "Mongolia Household Income per Capita, 1997 – 2021 Data". www.ceicdata.com.
  23. ^ "Mr. Dashdorj Zorigt (Minister of Minerals and Energy, Parliament of Mongolia) at the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee | openparliament.ca". openparliament.ca.
  24. ^ "Info" (PDF). www.mn.undp.org. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  25. ^ "ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. SUKHBAATAR BATBOLD – Монгол Улсын Элчин Сайдын Яам". Embassyofmongolia.co.uk. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  26. ^ "Премьер-министр Монголии Батболд прибыл в Москву - новости Бурятии и Улан-Удэ". Информ Полис. December 13, 2010.
  27. ^ "China, Mongolia pledge closer relations as Mongolian PM visits - People's Daily Online". en.people.cn.
  28. ^ "Mongolia's 'Third Neighbor' Foreign Policy". Asia Society.
  29. ^ OSCE PA (3 February 2017). Member Directory (Report). p. 3. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  30. ^ "Presidium of the Socialist International". socialistinternational.org. Socialist International. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  31. ^ "HOME". www.mongolia-dsi.org.
  32. ^ "About The Williamsburg Conference". Asia Society.
  33. ^ Cho, Jamie (21 June 2017). "Northeast Asia Regional Meeting 2017". a-pln.org. APLN. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Two world leaders added to Panama Papers Power Players - ICIJ". 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  35. ^ "The Power Players: Politicians in the Panama Papers - ICIJ". 2017-01-31. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  36. ^ Goodley, Simon; Smith, Joseph; McMahon, Philip; Gutiérrez, Pablo; Clarke, Seán (2021-10-05). "Revealed: Pandora papers unmask owners of offshore-held UK property worth £4bn". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  37. ^ a b "ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database". Offshore Leaks Database. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  38. ^ a b Greenwood, Emanuele Midolo, George. "Mongolian leader barred from selling £11m London flat". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2023-04-04.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Party political offices
Preceded by General Secretary of the Mongolian People's Party
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Mongolia
Succeeded by