Mongolia Asia's Gentle Rebel

As democracy stirs in this frozen outpost of Stalinism, the leadership takes a slow-motion approach to perestroika

Inside a fenced government compound in the heart of Ulan Bator, Mongolia's capital, a traditional felt tent, known as a ger, rests on the concrete square. Inside the ger stands Mandakh Jiguur, 28, an artist who has abandoned his oils and watercolors for a higher calling: private enterprise. Spiritedly, he moves between the eight tables, pushing sausages, vodka and smoldering Mongolian hot pot on his customers. Jiguur heaves a sigh of relief that this day the authorities did not arbitrarily shut down his bar. "One day they tell you to stand up and start a business," says Jiguur. "But the next,...

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