Department of Eastern Slavs and Peoples of European Russia

Contact Information

Phone: +7 (812) 328-41-41 (108 ext.)

Department Staff

Ekaterina MEL'NIKOVA, Head of the Department, Cand.Sc.

Olga KON’KOVA, Researcher (ethnography of Baltic Finns, ethnic history of Ingermanlandia).

Lyudmila LAVRENT’EVA, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (history of MAE, collectors, Russian and Slavic culture, specimen versus culture, and ethno-museology).

Natalya MAZALOVA, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (Russian ethnography, folk medicine, somatic ethnography, folk beliefs about soul, magical practices of Russian “adepts”).

Anton SALMIN, Leading Researcher, D.Sc., (ethnography, folklore and folk religion of the Chuvashes and the Volga Finns).

Alexander TERYUKOV, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (ethnography of the Komi and other Finnish peoples, history of Russian and Finno-Ugric ethnography, history of MAE, ethno-museology).

Anna TYKVINA, Senior Assistant

Aleksandr FINCHENKO, Chief Specialist, Cand.Sc.

Tatjana SCHEPANSKAYA, Leading Researcher, Cand.Sc. (Russian culture, methods of field studies, gender studies including ethnography of maternity, masculine stereotypes, male traditions and magic; political anthropology including traditional models and symbols of power, anthropology of violence, ethnography of professional communities, juvenile subculture).

Tatyana YAKOVLEVA, Assistant

History of the Department

The study of the traditional material culture and ideology of the Slavs and their Finnish and Turkic neighbors has been among the museum’s priorities ever since its foundation in 1879. They were addressed by “The Cabinet (i.e. sector) of Europe” which, in 1925–40, was headed by Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences D.K. Zelenin. He made an important contribution to the training of professionals in this domain.  In 1943, when the Moscow part of the Institute of Ethnography was being established, the Department of the Ethnography of Eastern Slavs was founded. Until 1992, when the Institute split into that of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow and the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography in St.-Petersburg, this department united specialists engaged in Slavic studies in two capitals. In various years it was headed by V.V. Bogdanov, E.E. Blomkvist, V.I. Chicherov, P.I. Kushner, and V.K. Sokolova. Its members were prominent figures such as T.V. Stanyukovich,  B.N. Putilov, N.V. Novikov, and A.K. Baiburin; the contribution of persons like S.N. Mogilyanskaya and N.I. Gagen-Torn, too, was important. In 1961-90 the Department was directed by Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences Kirill Vassilievich Chistov, one of Russia’s leading specialists in Slavic folklore and ethnography. T.A. Bernshtam has been Department Head since 1991.

Main Research Areas

The principal domains of studies conducted by the department members are traditional culture, ideology and folklore of the Eastern Slavs and other peoples of European Russia, ethno-cultural processes and ethnic interactions in northwestern and northern Russia, and theory and practice of modern museology.

Principal Publications

  • Russkii Sever: Arealy i kul’turnye traditsii [Russian North: Distribution Areas and Cultural Traditions] / Ed. by T.A. Bernshtam, K.V. Chistov. SPb.: Nauka, 1992. 272 p.
  • Russkii Sever. K probleme lokal’nykh grupp [Russian North. The Problem of Local Groups] / Ed. by T.A. Bernshtam. SPb.: MAE RAS, 1995. 320 p.
  • Zhenschina i veschestvennyi mir kul’tury u narodov Rossii i Evropy [Woman and the Material World of Russian and European Culture] / Ed. by T.A. Bernshtam. SPb.: Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie, 1999. 249 p. (MAE Collection. Vol. XLVII).
  • Khristianstvo v regionakh mira [Christianity in World Regions]. Ed. by T.A. Bernshtam. SPb.: MAE RAS, 2002. 336 p.

A highly important series of monographs has been authored by the department’s oldest staff member, Corresponding Member of the Academy K.V. Chistov.

  • Prichitaniya Severnogo kraya, sobrannye E.V. Barsovym [Lamentations of the Northern Region Collected by E.V. Barsov] / Ed. and prepared for publication by K.V. Chistov, B.E. Chistova. SPb.: Nauka (series “Literaturnye pamytaniki” (“Literary Monuments”), 1997. Vol. I. 500 p., Vol. II 655 p.
  • Preodolenie rabstva. Fol’klor i yazyk “ostarbaiterov” 1942–1944. [Overcoming Slavery. Folklore and Language of the “Ostarbeiters”]. Compiled and annotated by K.V. Chistov and B.E. Chistova. M.: Memorial, 1998. 198 p. (German edition: Fliege, mein Briefchen von Westen nach Osten. Ausz50108ge russischer, ukrainischer und wei50079ru50079ischer Briefen der Zwangsarbeiterinnen und Zwangsarbeiter 1942–1944. [Studien zur Volksliedforschung. Bd 18]. Bern; Berlin; Frankfurt a.M.; New York; Paris; Wien: Peter Lang, 1998. 368 s.
  • 50316istov K.V. Der gute Zar and das ferne Land: russische sozial-utopische Volkslegenden des 17.–19. Jahrhunderts (Hrsg. Von D.Burkhart. 50076bers. Von Gesine Damijan, Dra50622en Grgi50311, etc.). M50108nster; New York; M50108nchen; Berlin: Waxmann. 1998. 319 S.
  • Chistov K.V. Russkaya narodnaya utopiya: Genezis i funktsii sotsial’no-utopicheskikh legend [Russian Folk Utopia: Origin and Functions of Social-Utopian Legends]. SPb.: Dmitrii Bulanin, 2003. 539 p.

Other monographs published by the department staff members in the last five years are the following:

  • Bernshtam T.A. Molodost’ v simvolizme perekhodnykh obryadov vostochnykh slavyan: Uchenie i opyt Tserkvi v narodnom Khristianstve [Youth in the Symbolism of the Eastern Slavic Passage Rites: Doctrine and Experience of the Church in Folk Christianity]. SPb., Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie, 2000. 400 p.
  • Mazalova N.E. Sostav chelovecheskii: Chelovek v traditsionnykh somaticheskikh predstavleniyakh russkikh [Human Composition: Man in the Traditional Somatic Beliefs of the Russians]. SPb.: Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie, 2001. 192 p.
  • Salmin A.K. Narodnye obryady chuvashei v fotografiyakh [Chuvash Folk Rites in Photographs]. Cheboksary, 2001. 112 p.
  • Salmin A.K. Prazdniki i obryady chuvashskoi derevni [Chuvash Village Festivals and Rites]. Cheboksary, 2001. 48 p.
  • Salmin A.K. Sistema verovanii chuvashei [Chuvash System of Beliefs]. Cheboksary, 2004. 208 p.
  • Shevchenko Yu.Yu. V zone slavyanskogo etnogeneza: Paleodemoekologiya nizovoi Desny v pervom tysyacheletii nashei ery [The Zone of Slavic Origins: Paleo-demo-ecology of the Lower Desna in the First Millennium AD]. SPb.: MAE RAS, 2002. 380 p.
  • Schepanskaya T.B. Kul’tura dorogi v russkoi miforitual’noi traditsii XIX-XX vv. [Culture of the Road in Russian Mytho-Ritual Tradition of the 19th and 20th Centuries]. M.: Indrik, 2003. 352 p.
  • Schepanskaya T.B. Sistema: teksty i traditsii subkukl’tury [The Underground: Texts and Traditions of a Subculture]. M.: O.G.I., 2004. 288 p.
  • Lavrent’eva L.S., Smirnov Yu.I. Kul’tura russkogo naroda [Russian Culture]. SPb.: Paritet, 2004. 445 p.


Collections representing peoples of European part of the former USSR and foreign Europe (over 15 thousand specimens, some 26 thousand negatives and over 11 thousand illustrations) are housed at the depository “Department of Europe”. Their first collector was the founder of St.-Petersburg Kunstkamera Peter I, who brought from Europe numerous specimens presented to him or those he had acquired specially for the Kunstkamera. In the 1700s and early 1800s new valuable collections from the Volga and the Urals were received. During the 1768–74 Physical and Topographical Expedition Academician P.S. Pallas and adjunct I.I. Lepekhin greatly enriched the department’s funds with clothing of the Volga peoples. By the time the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography was established (1879), it had owned, apart from the all these, small collections representing Russian ethnography.

In the early 1900s, the department received Russian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian specimens collected by the expeditions led by D.A. Klementz, S.M. Dudin, and N.M. Mogilyanskii. Large collections were received from M.K. Kablukova-Gorbunova, A.V. Zhuravskii, D.D. Travin, A.I. Rogachev, etc. Samples of embroidery made by Tver’ Karelians were received from a village teacher M.V. Mikhailovskaya. Director of Helsingfors Museum Dr. T. Schwindt supervised the acquisition of collections illustrating the Finnish culture of the Karelian Isthmus. In 1897 the Museum received part of the present given to Alexander II by the Bulgarian people in acknowledgment of his role in the liberation of their country from Turkish domination.

In 1930-40 D.K. Zelenin made a huge contribution to the museum by having systematically collected items by categories (implements, clothing, footwear, headgears, etc.) In the postwar period, when the historical and ethnographic atlas was being prepared, much attention was paid to Eastern Slavic enclaves in Siberia (G.M. Osokin, L.M. Saburova, G.S. Maslova, A.A. Lebedeva), in Central Asia, and in Kazakhstan (E.E. Blomkvist, T.V. Stanyukovich). In the late 1900s more collections arrived from Archangelsk and Vologda regions and from the Vepsian area of Leningrad oblast’ (A.E. Finchenko).

Among the most interesting specimens are hats worn by Russians and the Volga Finns and Turks, spoons, samples of embroidery. The most important illustrations are in the collections of I.S. Polyakov, V.A. Carrick, M.A. Krukovskii, S.M. Dudin, and A.A. Belikov.

The following catalogues have been published:

  • Katalog kollektsii otdela Evropy MAE [Catalogue of Collections of the Department of Europe of MAE] / Compiled by Stanyukovich T.V., Ushakov N.V., Bernshtam T.A., Kogan M.E., Yukhneva N.V., Gvozdikova L.S., Zhukovskaya I.V., Kamenetskaya R.V., Molotova L.N., Starovoitova G.V., Shapovalova G.G. // Pamyatniki kul’tury narodov Evropy i evropeiskoi chasti SSSR. L., 1982. P. 153–191. (MAE Collections. Vol. XXXVIII).
  • Lavrent’eva L.S. Katalog illyustrativnykh kollektsii otdela Evropy MAE [Catalogue of Illustrative Collections of the Department of Europe of MAE] // Iz kul’turnogo naslediya narodov Vostochnoi Evropy. SPb., 1992. P. 180–197. (MAE Collections. Vol. XLV).