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  • Writer's pictureAmar Adiya

The Moya (Mongolian MAGA) Movement: A Political Wild Card? 


As Mongolia gears up for its next round of elections, one political force stands out as a potential wild card - the so-called "Mongolia Will Win" or "Moya" movement in Mongolian (“Мояа” is derivative word from “Монгол Ялна”, which was President Battulga’s election slogan in 2017). 


Mongolian MAGA movement
Source: https://www.facebook.com/MongoliaWin/

This loosely organized, grassroots group has emerged as a significant player in Mongolian politics, commanding a sizable and impassioned following that could sway the balance of power according to ex-MP Uyanga, an ideologue for the Moya movement.



For Uyanga, a former member of parliament and close confidant of ex-President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, the rise of the Moya movement is a testament to the enduring power of grassroots political movements, even in the face of entrenched political interests.


Uyanga believes the Moya activists are a diverse, impassioned group bound by a shared sense of Mongolian nationalism and a deep distrust of the political establishment. The Moyas see Battulga as their champion - a political outsider who is willing to take on the entrenched interests and corruption that have long plagued our country.


The origins of the Moya movement can be traced back to the civil unrest and protests that rocked Mongolia in the late 2000s. Frustrated with perceived government corruption, inefficiency, and neglect of the interests of average citizens, a diverse array of Mongolians - from intellectuals to working-class citizens - coalesced around a shared sense of nationalist pride and a desire for political change. This nascent movement initially lacked a clear organizational structure or unified leadership, but it found a figurehead in Battulga, whose successful presidential campaign in 2017 was buoyed by the mobilization of the Moya base.



One can easily draw parallels between the Moya movement and the MAGA phenomenon that propelled Donald Trump to power in the United States. Like the supporters of the former US president, the Moya activists have become a genuine expression of the frustrations and aspirations of a significant swath of the Mongolian electorate. 


According to Uyanga, a lot of people feel left behind by the country's economic development, who view the political elite as out-of-touch elites more concerned with lining their own pockets than serving the interests of the common citizen.


Much like Trump tapped into the anger and resentment of working-class Americans, Battulga has managed to harness the energy and passion of the Mongolian MAGA movement base. His "Mongolia Will Win" slogan struck a chord with those who see themselves as the vanguard of a movement to reclaim Mongolia's sovereignty and prosperity. They are the "forgotten people" who have been betrayed by the very system that was supposed to serve them.



And like the MAGA supporters, the Moya activists are a force to be reckoned with. They are not just passive voters - they are zealous activists who will show up in droves to rallies, demonstrations, and even confrontations with the authorities. Uyanga claims that they are willing to take risks, to push the boundaries, and to defy the political establishment in ways that more mainstream parties simply cannot. 


The Mongolian People's Party, for its part, has sought to portray the Moya movement as a destabilizing force, painting its supporters as uneducated, irrational, and even dangerous, says Uyanga. But this strategy has had limited success, as the Moya base has proven to be resilient and resistant to such characterizations.


Ultimately, the rise of the Moya movement reflects deeper currents of discontent and nationalist sentiment within Mongolian society. As Mongolia navigates the challenges of economic development, resource management, and geopolitical tensions, this dynamic force will likely continue to exert significant influence on the country's political trajectory.


Understanding the Moya movement will be crucial for anyone seeking to understand the election dynamics in June.



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