Partnership for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Folklore

(Formerly American Friends of Russian Folklore)

Russian Folklore in Kazakhstan: an update (Nov. 14, 2022)

The war in Ukraine brought our 2022 plans to a screeching halt. So we test-drove a new idea — collecting Russian folklore in Kazakhstan.

It was awesome.

All of our volunteers felt safe. The mood was totally peaceful, life was totally normal, and US citizens didn’t even need a visa. And there are hundreds of Russian-speaking villages in Kazakhstan, some of them founded centuries ago.

We collected great folklore. (See our facebook page.)

And we’re going back for more.

We aim to announce our 2023 expeditions by the end of November. Stay tuned!

November 14, 2023

Why Collect Folklore?

You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew.

What kinds of mischief are witches accused of ? If people have Youtube do they stop singing their old songs? What kinds of urban legends do Russians tell? Are young people interested in old rituals? How do you make vodka from birch sap? Where do you go to find out?


Our expedition volunteers record, film and photograph folklore traditions and the people who are the tradition-bearers. They work under the direction of expert local folklorists who gladly share their knowledge. The field recordings end up in scholarly archives to be preserved for future generations. 


No luxury hotel, no swimming pool, no fancy restaurant.


Great home-made hospitality. Spectacular scenery. Immersion in village life. And improvement to your global vision.

Here’s what our volunteers say…

The hospitality of people in the villages was amazing. C.O. 2019

I felt that my work made a real contribution. And I loved everyone we met in Verkh-Uimon. I’m dying to get back. All the babushki we interviewed were lovely. Our hostess was wonderful. She let us use the internet from the tractor outside the house. L.P. 2018

This trip was the best planned trip I have ever been on in Russia. It was amazing how smoothly it all went. The best part was being allowed to interview one of the villagers on topics of interest to me. The worst part was having to say goodbye to everyone on our last day. It was wonderful how many people came to see us off.
M.M. 2019

Interviewing trumps all; it was fantastic hearing women recount their stories. And swimming in the Dvina for a break was very nice. S.K. 2013