Dr. David Galloway (Hobart and William Smith Colleges) and 7 intrepid students braved the Russian winter to record songs, tales and holiday customs in villages near Yelnya. Along the way they did some sight-seeing, played tag in the park with an Orthodox church youth group, got steamy in a village banya and tried out the bunks on the overnight train. They report excellent food (“best I’ve ever had in my life!”) everywhere.

Here is a note from expedition leader Dr. Yelena Minyonok:

I am back to Moscow after our wonderful folklore expedition with professor David Galloway. It was absolutely great trip. No single complain, no single problem, no single moment of sadness. David’s students are wonderful. I am not tired at all. Thank you so much for this great opportunity to conduct expedition with professor Galloway and his students.


About This Expedition

  • Location:

    Yelnya district, Smolensk Province, Russia

Meet The Team

  • Dr. David Galloway

  • 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.