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Official website of the President of Russia


The 2019 National Award in Literature and Art was conferred on Galina Medvedeva for contributing to the preservation, study and development of the traditional verbal culture of Russian old-time inhabitants of Baikal, Siberia

June 18, 2020

GalinaMedvedevawas born on June 6, 1958, in Bratsk, Irkutsk Region. She is the director of the Irkutsk regional centre of Russian language, folklore and ethnography, Doctor of Philology and member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. She was decorated with the Order of Friendship and has won a number of public and professional awards.

Galina Medvedeva is a famous ethnographer, author of works on the Siberian peoples’ folklore, and the dictionary Folk Vocabulary in Valentin Rasputin’s Stories and Novels. She dedicated nearly 40 years of her life to the research of priceless samples of the vanishing folklore and ethnographic heritage of Eastern Siberia.

In 2006, she started work on a multiple-volume work, TheDictionaryofDialects of RussianOld-timeResidentsofBaikal,Siberia with 30 volumes currently published. Old-time residents of Baikal, Siberia are Russian pioneers, hunters and fishermen, farmers and old-believers who were exiled to eastern Siberia. Their settlements date back to the mid 17th – early 18th centuries. The remoteness from the capital cities contributed to the preservation of traditional spoken culture, folklore, rites and ways of life.

The publishing of the dictionary was preceded by many years of field research (since 1980) conducted in Eastern Siberia under Galina Medvedeva’s supervision, which resulted in a unique archive of texts, photos, audio and video materials. She designed a comprehensive method for studying folk culture that made it possible to accumulate, systematise and preserve unparalleled folklore and ethnographic substance.

Galina Medvedeva’s research is unique since it brings back into modern cultural communication the Russian language as it was not only prior to Pushkin but even prior to Lomonosov. Galina Medvedeva’s efforts will help preserve the language of a “state-forming” people in a version that can only survive and live in the remote Baikal territory.

The Dictionary of Dialects of the Russian Old-time Residents of Baikal Siberia unveils not only language peculiarities of the first Russian settlers in the Baikal taiga but also their attitude towards the world, nature, their neighbours and children. Galina Medvedeva’s work is an encyclopaedia of the departing underlying Russian folk culture, work that was done with affection for the Russian language, history and culture.