Russian Home Search E-mail Map

Department of Eastern Slavs and Peoples of European Russia

Contact Information

Phone: (812) 328-41-41

Head of Department

Teryukov Alexander, Cand.Sc.

History of the Deoartment

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.

Department Staff

Teryukov Alexander,  Head of Department, Cand.Sc. (ethnography of the Komi and other Finnish peoples, history of Russian and Finno-Ugric ethnography, history of MAE, ethno-museology).

Bernshtam Tatyana,Senior Researcher,  D.Sc., Professor (Eastern Slavic ethnography and folklore, phenomenology and symbolism of folk culture and mytho-ritual tradition of the Eastern Slavs, ethno-cultural aspects of Christianity and church ethnography, methodology of folkloric and ethnographic studies).

Chistov Kirill, Chief Researcher, D.Sc., Professor, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences, winner of USSR State Award (Eastern Slavic folklore and ethnography, relationships between Slavs and Finns, Russian peasant psychology, socio-utopian legends, theoretical issues in folklore and ethnography).

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

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

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

Uzunova Valentina, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (ethno-museology, museum sociology, psychology of religion, ethnic minorities).

Shevchenko Yuri, Senior Researcher, Cand.Sc. (ethnography and cultural anthropology of the Slavs, church antiquities, isichasm, Christian underground sanctuaries).

Schepanskaya Tatjana, Senior 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).

Bogomazova Tatjana, Researcher, Cand.Sc. (Slavic ethnography, cultural anthropology, ethno-museology, information technologies in the humanities).

Kon’kova Olga, Research Assistant (ethnography of Baltic Finns, ethnic history of Ingermanlandia).

Kondrat’eva Nataliya, Senior Assistant, postgraduate student.

Principal Publications

Joint studies published by the department staff members in the last decade (1992–2002) include the following:

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.


Since the establishment of the department, fieldwork has been among its major activities. The largest expeditions were carried out in the 1950s and 1960s during the preparation of the ethnographic atlas The Russians. At that time the Kazakhstanian team of the Central Asian Expedition was directed by T.V. Stanyukovich. In the course of the expedition, elements of material culture were mapped, and unique ethnographic materials representing the Eastern Slavic population of Central Asia and Kazakhstan were acquired by T.V. Stanyukovich, S.N. Mogilyanskaya, N.I. Gagen-Torn, and I.V. Zhukovskaya.

In 1995, a longterm field study of local populations in the Northern Dvina region was completed under the direction of T.A. Bernshtam. A.E. Finchenko, T.B. Schepanskaya, and N.E. Mazalova took part in the fieldwork.

Since 1996 annual field trips to the Leningrad region have been conducted for the study of Vepsian, Russian, Izhoran and Finnish populations (A.E. Finchenko, O.I. Kon’kova, A.I. Teryukov, T.B. Schepanskaya, N.E. Mazalova, and L.S. Lavrent’eva).

Yu.Yu. Shevchenko and T.G. Bogomazova are studying underground dwellings in European Russia (Pskovo-Pecherskii and Sarovskii monasteries, and Valaam).

V.G. Uzunova, in cooperation with the Department of Ethnography and Anthropology of St.-Petersburg University is collecting sociological data at MAE under the project “Sociology of Museum Studies: MAE as a Basis for Ethno-Sociological Studies”.


The first Zelenin Lectures were held on November 26th – 28th, 2003. The conference is consecrated to the memory of the prominent Russian ethnographer D.K. Zelenin and is co-sponsored with the Faculty of Ethnology of the European University in St.-Petersburg. It is expected that it will be held on regular basis.

Prizes and Awards

In 1981 the department staff members K.V. Chistov and T.V. Stanyukovich won the State Award for the joint monograph Modern Ethnic Processes in the USSR.

In 2000, the German order “For Services” was awarded to K.V. Chistov for his participation in joint Russian-German research projects. In 2003 he received the prize of S.F. Oldenburg by St.-Petersburg City Government and Academic Center in St.-Petersburg.

Current Research Projects

Since 2003, the department staff members have been engaged in two major joint projects: Traditional Culture, Ideology, and Folklore of Eastern Slavs and Other Peoples of European Russia (directed by K.V. Chistov) and Ethno-Cultural Processes and Ethnic Interactions in Northwestern and Northern Russia (directed by T.A. Bernshtam). There are also several other ongoing projects.


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).


Although the Department has no exposition of its own, its collections are displayed on the permanent exhibition “History of the Kunstkamera” and are widely used for temporary exhibitions at MAE and at other Russian and foreign museums.

In 2002 the department staff member A.E. Finchenko designed and founded the T.V. Stanyukovich Museum of Vepsian Culture in Ladva village, Podporozh’e district of Leningrad Oblast’.