Nguyễn Văn Đỗ
Nguyen Do
Nguyễn Văn Đỗ in military outfit (2008)
President of the Indochinese DR
Term serving 1994 - present
Preceded by leaders of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Succeeded by none (incumbent)
Political Vice-chairman of the Unity Party
Military Supreme Commander
Personal information
Born March 2, 1941
Studies Politics and Economics
(Hanoi Military Academy)
Occupation Politician, army officer
Religious stance Atheist
Political stance Progressive nationalist
International marxism
Trang Chup Long meets Vo Nguyen Giap

Văn Đỗ meeting Yarphese PM Trầng Chúp Long

Nguyễn Văn Đỗ, often simplified in English as Nguyen Van Do, is the president of the Indochinese Democratic Republic. Văn Đỗ was born in 1941 as son to a Vietnamese fisherman. Nguyễn Văn Đỗ grew up in a small village near the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi working on the rice fields with his mother and aunt. After a successful career in the military, Văn Đỗ became president when he restored order to the country in 1994. He is most popular under Vietnamese people and also has a fairly large popular base in Laos and Northern Cambodia. He is sometimes compared to the figure of Hồ Chí Minh albeit the latter sought Vietnamese independence whereas Nguyễn Văn Đỗ focusses on uniting Indochina.


Childhood and education

Nguyễn Văn Đỗ was born in 1941 as son to a Vietnamese fisherman. Văn Đỗ grew up in a small village near the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi working on the rice fields with his mother and aunt. The First Indochinese War and the Vietnam War had a huge impact on his life. The young Văn Đỗ was familiar with violence and poverty, things he admitted to have shaped his political views. Nguyễn Văn Đỗ joined the Việt Minh in 1960, at the age of nineteen. This is where Văn Đỗ established his belief in marxist thought and his defiance of imperialism. During the war he enjoyed an extensive military training and showed the gift for higher education. His senior officers decided to send him to the military academy of Hanoi.

In 1975 the Vietnam was was won. Văn Đỗ spend most of it attaining his degree in politics and economics, a study he kept running even after he earned his degree. At the age of 38 he was one of the leading officers of the Vietnamese army and had ties with officials of the Communist Party in Hanoi. He was however in favor of a tighter union between the countries of the former French Indochinese colony. Văn Đỗ believed it would foster a more stable climate for the inhabitants of all three nations. It is thus no surprise Nguyễn Văn Đỗ played a decisive role in overthrowing the anti-Vietnamese Cambodian regime of the Khmer Rouge.

Military and political career

Nguyễn Văn Đỗ had a stable role in Vietnamese society, having climbed the military ranks with ease and even attaining a local political mandate in the country's capital Hanoi. He stayed however away from real policy-making power until the nineties. During the political chaos the country had fallen into ever since the Grand Yarphese Republic was established, the Vietnamese communist leadership was in disarray. Văn Đỗ felt he had a duty towards his country and managed to call the army divisions stationed in northern-Vietnam to order. Officials of the higher echelons of the Communist Party decided that their regime could not be saved unless order was restored. They took measures reforming the party program while Văn Đỗ was appointed supreme commander and was granted the office of president. The latter gave him the needed authority to change policies when needed.

The campaign initiated by Nguyễn Văn Đỗ was most successful. Safe some southern provinces which would later be lost to the Grand Yarphese Republic, the regime restored its grip over the country. Văn Đỗ did however more than just executing his party-ordered job: he removed from power conservative generals and politicians that in his opinion 'formed a treat to stability and peace amongst the people of Indochina'. Văn Đỗ began promoting openly his ideal of a united Indochina. Like-minded party leaders overthrew the conservative establishment from within and by the beginning of 1995 the union with Laos was a fact. The Unity Party was established of which Nguyễn became vice-chairman.

In 2011, Northern Cambodia was taken up into the Indochinese DR even though the southernmost parts of Cambodia and Vietnam were lost to Yarphei. Nguyễn Văn Đỗ understood his Indochina could break-up if he raised weapons against the Yarphese Republic. Not willing to risk his political project of a stable and united Indochina, Văn Đỗ maintains an isolationist policy and focusses mainly on domestic progress.

Beliefs and policy

The personal beliefs of Nguyễn Văn Đỗ are not very well known. Based on tales from his youth it is assumed that Văn Đỗ became an atheist very early because of the religious violence he witnessed in his youth. This was later on strengthened when he came in touch with marxist thought. Currently, Nguyễn Văn Đỗ has however shifted away from the radical youngster he is believed to have been. He has become more pragmatic, allowing freedom of religious expression and stripping the policy bare from direct references to communism or even socialism. The grand-Indochinese nationalism and solidarity amongst all Indochinese peoples is stressed as the core issue of Nguyễn Văn Đỗ his vision.

Some consider Văn Đỗ to be a nationalist dictator whilst others justly remark that the current Indochinese establishment still offers a great deal of attention to fighting poverty and uses a harsh language towards 'imperialist' tendencies in international politics. It is indeed so that the policy issued under Văn Đỗ his rule draws heavily on the socialist past, especially for the economic regulation. Nonetheless Nguyễn has often made clear that all he does is merely instrumental to his ultimate goal: a stable and well-faring union between all the people of Indochina.

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