Team I, June 25- July 14, 2008

Road to Maslianogorsk. Photo Yelena Minyonok

   Location: Batama village (settled by Ukrainians) and Basalayevka village (setteled by Russians), Zima district, Irkutsk province. Name of the project: “The Folklore of Siberian Villages”. Principal Investigator: Dr. Yelena Minyonok  

A peasant house in Maslianogorsk. Photo Yelena Minyonok

The Folklore of Siberian Villages project is the last stage of a larger body of field research which began in 2003. The project aims to preserve the masterpieces of folkloric musical traditions, rituals, mythological stories and oral history of the European peoples (Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Chuvash, etc.) who pioneered Siberia more than 100 hundred years ago in accordance with the Stolypin Land Reform –

These traditions spread throughout Eastern Siberia and are still very much alive in the everyday life of the pioneers' decendents. Our expedition has two main goals:

a) to document the music, rituals and narratives the pioneers brought with them to Siberia using modern technology, b) to compare the folkloric traditions existing in Siberian villages with those still practiced today in the pioneer’s natal European villages 100 years since their journey began.

Windows. Maslianogorsk village. Photo Yelena Minyonok

Our team will work in two different villages of Irkutsk province, Zima district, located 5 km from each other. The first village, in Basalaevka, was settled in 1907 by Russians who moved from Vyatskays guberniya; the second village, in Batama, was settled in 1908 by Ukrainians who moved from Zhitomir province.


At the end of oour expedition our team will tour Irkutsk and spend 3 days in the most beautiful and pristine place on Earth – Lake Baikal. Designated an UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, Lake Baikal, or as it is sometimes called, ‘the Blue Eye of Siberia’, is the world’s deepest fresh water lake (1,637 m/5,371 ft deep), holding approximately twenty percent of the world’s fresh water.


Hay making time. Photo Yelena Minyonok

It is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world. In addition to the mysterious and mesmerizing beauty of Lake Baikal, we will be happy to share with you the generous hospitality of the Siberian people as well as Irkutsk’s amazing wooden architecture.


 For more information, please, read the Briefing.




of Alberta
Dr. Natalie
University of
Wisconsin Dr.
James Bailey
University of
Colorado at
Boulder Dr.
Laura Olson
University of
Dr. Rouhier-