Centuries ago, this was a Cossack military outpost, part of Imperial Russia’s project to expand its influence in east Asia.

The Russian border eventually shifted 60 miles to the north. But by the time the military closed this frontier outpost, the thriving Cossack village of Predgornoye (“foothill” )had sprung up next door.   Many of those villagers elected to stay. Their descendants are still here.

Predgornoye’s 3000 people are fiercely proud of their Cossack inheritance, expressed in Cossack-style singing, a beautiful church, and their family stories. Our team will document the local celebration of Trinity Sunday (June 23rd), interview locals about other seasonal celebrations, and record the excellent local singers.

Expedition start and end point:  Ust Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan

About This Expedition

  • Dates:

    June 21, 2024 to July 2, 2024

  • Location:

    Predgornoye village, Glubokovskii district, East Kazakhstan

  • Expedition Languages:

    Russian, English

  • Team Size:


  • Projected Fee:

    $2900 - $3200 —- ($2465 - $2720 for enrolled US undergraduate and graduate students)

  • Apply By:

    April 22, 2024

Meet The Team

  • head shot of woman, trees in background

    Dr. Alevtina Tsvetkova

    Professor of Russian Philology, specializing in Folklore, at Pavlodar State University in Pavlodar, Kazakhstan

    Dr. Tsvetkova has been making folklore expeditions to Siberia and the Altai Mountains (on both sides of the Russia/Kazakhstan border) since 1983. Her special interests include family folklore, family life-cycle rituals, and the contemporary role of folk legend and belief.

  • head shot Yelena Minyonok

    Dr. Yelena Minyonok

    Major Researcher and Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive
    Gorky Institute of World Literature, Moscow

    Lena Minyonok is a philologist, folklorist, and Principal Investigator of the American Friends of Russian Folklore. Dr. Minyonok graduated from the Philological Department of the Moscow State University, where she received her M.A. degree from in 1988. Her postgraduate studies were at the Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1988-1991). She received her Ph.D. in Folklore (Moscow, 1998) and now serves as Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive and Major Researcher in the Folklore Division of the Gorky Institute. Dr. Minyonok has been a Principal Investigator for countless folklore expeditions and has published over 60 articles about Russian folklore traditions. Most recently, she has led expeditions for the American Friends of Russian Folklore (PREEEF’s former name) in conjunction with the Institute of World Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky in 2007, as a Fulbright scholar.