Meet your team in lovely Irkutsk,  then travel by bus to the village of Blagodatnaya, founded over 100 years ago by Belarusian settlers seeking land and a new life.  Interview the residents about local customs and beliefs, record their songs, hear the family stories about leaving Belarus for the untamed  East.  While you’re at it, ask for the secrets of distilling vodka from birch sap. Your team will enjoy a stay at scenic Lake Baikal before riding the fabled Trans-Siberian railroad to Moscow.

About This Expedition

  • Dates:

    August 20, 2019 to September 2, 2019

  • Location:

    Blagodatnaya village, Zalari district, Irkutsk province, Siberia

Meet The Team

  • 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.