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ISSN 2227-6017 (ONLINE), ISSN 2303-9868 (PRINT), DOI: 10.18454/IRJ.2227-6017
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Мищенко Т. А. ПОЛЕССКИЙ И ВЕЛИКОРУССКИЙ СТАРООБРЯДЧЕСКИЕ КОМПОНЕНТЫ ТРАДИЦИОННОЙ КУЛЬТУРЫ В СФЕРЕ ОБЩЕНИЯ МОЛОДЁЖИ СЕРЕДИНЫ XX ВЕКА (ПО МАТЕРИАЛАМ ПОЛЕВОГО ИССЛЕДОВАНИЯ) / Т. А. Мищенко, О. В. Белугина, С. П. Куркина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2015. — №10 (41) Часть 4. — С. 123—125. — URL: (дата обращения: 25.09.2021. ). doi: 10.18454/IRJ.2015.41.180
Мищенко Т. А. ПОЛЕССКИЙ И ВЕЛИКОРУССКИЙ СТАРООБРЯДЧЕСКИЕ КОМПОНЕНТЫ ТРАДИЦИОННОЙ КУЛЬТУРЫ В СФЕРЕ ОБЩЕНИЯ МОЛОДЁЖИ СЕРЕДИНЫ XX ВЕКА (ПО МАТЕРИАЛАМ ПОЛЕВОГО ИССЛЕДОВАНИЯ) / Т. А. Мищенко, О. В. Белугина, С. П. Куркина // Международный научно-исследовательский журнал. — 2015. — №10 (41) Часть 4. — С. 123—125. doi: 10.18454/IRJ.2015.41.180



Мищенко Т.А.1, Белугина О.В.2, Куркина С.П.3

1Кандидат исторических наук, доцент, 2соискатель, 3аспирант,

Брянский государственный университет имени академика И.Г. Петровского

Работа выполнена при поддержке гранта РГНФ-БРФФИ № 15-24-01551 е(м)



Исследование традиционной культуры Восточного Полесья в данной статье дополняется сравнительным анализом полесского и великорусского компонентов в сфере общения молодёжи, характерного для жителей региона в середине XX века. Выявлены общие черты: формы общения молодёжи (посиделки, вечёрки, игрища, гадания), моральные ценности. Отмечено несколько особенностей, свойственных девушкам из старообрядческой среды.

Ключевые слова: жители Полесья, старообрядцы, общение молодёжи.

Mishchenko A.T.1, Belugina O.V.2, Kurkina S.P.3

1PhD in History, 2postgraduate student, 3postgraduate student,

Bryansk State University named after academician I.G. Petrovsky



The study of traditional culture of the Eastern Polesie in this article is complemented by a comparative analysis of the Polesie and Russian components in the field of youth communication, characteristic for inhabitants of the region in the mid-twentieth century. The common features have been revealed: the forms of communication of young people (posidelki (gatherings), vechyorki (evening parties), igrishcha (merrymakings), divinations), moral values. Several characteristics typical for the girls from old believes’r environment have been noted.

Keywords: residents of the woodlands, the old believers, a fellowship of young people.

Polesie is a huge historical and ethnographic region, under which after Yu Bromley we understand the area, covering several ethnic groups, and the boundaries of this area are determined by the extensive border zones of the contacting peoples, taking into account the historical dynamics of their settlement, migration and mixing [3]. Ethnographers, linguists, historians, folklorists paid attention to the origin and ethnicity of the population, the characteristics of the elements of tangible and intangible cultural aspects of daily occurrence in the XIX and XX centuries. It should take into account the geopolitical feature of the region: its parts are located in the modern national Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland. In the XIX century. scientists were inclined to consider Polesie the area, where live separate people “poleshuks” ethnographically focused on the Belarusians, Ukrainians and Lithuanians within the border groups [2]. The question of the participation of the inhabitants of Polesie as a separate ethnic group in the formation of nations is controversial and politically engaged. Therefore, our research is based on the concept of evaluation of N.I. Tolstoy and S.M. Tolstaya “… For the linguist, folklorist and ethnographer contemporary Polesie is a reserve of linguistic and spiritual culture that preserved many valuable facts of oral lively old times” [11]. At the same time, there is a tradition of studying the historical and ethnographic region of Polesie through individual loci or microareas. So, it is accepted to allocate the upper- and middle Pripyat Polesie, the left-bank Polesie located on the Desna and the Sejm, the west Polesie to the south of of the Pripyat [10]. The Mozyr-Pripyat locus of historical and ethnographic region of the Eastern Polesye in the context of continuity and change of the ethno-cultural situation was studied by I.V. Chakvin, V.N. Belyavina, L.V. Rakova and others. [5]. It is necessary to supplement the study of the Eastern Polesye with the research of the locus, located on the rivers Iput-Besed’ (the Sozh river tributaries) on the both sides of the Russian-Belarusian border.

In the frames of this field study, supported with a grant from the RHF-BRFFR number 15-24-01551 e (m) “Traditional and modern practices of social regulation of behavior of young people in loving marital relationship in the East Polesie: ethnocultural and lingvogender aspects” were conducted population surveys in several districts of the south-west of Bryansk (Krasnogorsk, Novozybkov, Zlynka) and eastern districts of the Gomel region (Vetka and Dobrush). A special feature of the selected region of the study is the inclusion of Old Believers’ settlements of the offsprings from Central Russia among the Polesie villages. Even in the XIX century ethnographers referred the inhabitance of northern districts of Chernigov province (part of the Bryansk region in modern borders) to the Polests or the Polesie inhabitants; it is noted that “… our suburb is characterized by its numerous festivals, not established by the church” [4]. Ethnographers accepted to distinguish from the local rural population the residents of schismatic settlements who are called Russian [4]. To the Old Believers’ settlements, founded within the modern south-western districts of the Bryansk region belong the following settlements and posads (trading quarters): Klintsy, Zlynka, Zybkaya, Klimov, Mitkovka, Svyatskaya, Timoshkin Perevoz, Churovichi, Shelomy, Luzhki, Elionka, Voronok, Mlynki or Knyazhaya, Ardon [8]. It should be noted that the problems of identity and mutual influence of autochthonous population of Polesie and Great Old Believers components of traditional culture in a lovingly-marital relationship were only briefly mentioned by researchers. Thus, representatives of other ethnic groups are recorded in the Belarusian folklore, “Maskali “(Muscovites) (Russian, also with this term on the territory of the borderland the Old Believers were designated), “Hahly”, “Mazury”, “Zhydy” (Jews), Gypsies and others. According to the Belarusian researcher V.A. Lobach, “outsiders” are attributed to corruption and strange from the standpoint of “tuteyshyh”(aborigines) family relationships” [7]. As a rule, a number of deviations attributed to outsiders, are far-fetched. However, sustainable community division into “us” and “them” on the grounds of religious belief or ethnic origin resulted monoethnicity of marriages and influenced the forms of communication of young people.

U.S. Filipenka studies the wedding rituals of bespopovtsys (priestless) of Belarus and the influence of the neighbors – local residents [6]. V.V. Mishchenko, exploring the historical conditions of the formation of the Old Belief of Chernigov province, noted the special features typical for the Old Believers, dictated by the religious and ethical factors: “Any non-dominant confession experiencing oppression from the government, aims to isolate itself. For the Old Believers this tendency manifested itself in maintaining rigorous domestic foundations, sobriety, hard work, the pursuit of education, a special relationship to the book”[9].

The comparative analysis of features of the traditional culture in any of its aspects requires consideration of the national cultural policy of the Soviet state in the XX century: atheist, which unified local traditions, forming the new Soviet ceremonialism and “festive culture.” We agree with the French historian and geographer Leon Blum: “Made by the authority political decisions … affected all segments of the population and left a deep imprint in the demographic structure. … The experience of the own family, the experience passed on from one generation to another with astonishing authenticity … allows for the study of everyday life to involve interviews. … Partly due to that conservatism are explained the family relationships and the preservation of ties between the regions divided by national borders and the indifference of the Soviet peoples to the changes imposed by the authorities” [1].

Thus, the preservation of family and collective practices in connection with the forms of communication of young people, attitudes to marriage and choice of marriage partner, have been identified in the surveys of women-respondents of 1920-1940 years of birth, the aborigines of the villages of the Eastern Polesie locus of the rivers Iput-Besed, as well as of the women who consider themselves to the Old Believers from the settlements of Shelomy (Novozybkov district of the Bryansk region, Russia), Zlynka (Bryansk region, the Russian Federation), Vetka (Gomel region, Belarus), Novozybkov (Bryansk region, Russia). We believe that this generation, the youth of which was in the 1940-1950-ies, keeps in its memory the forms of communication of young people, the elements of traditional rites, social setting and evaluation of the choice of marriage partner, which were substantially rethought in the coming decades or completely lost.

For all of young people of the region the Shrove festive cycle proved to be a very significant. It was the time of the formation of couples, their legalization in the local community, courtship. There were common forms of communication of the youth: gatherings (posidelki, posidenki), merrymakings (igrishcha), evening parties (vechyorki). However for the Polesie rural girls is more important the collective of peers (boys and girls), in the frames of which the Shrovetide merriment was organized. The girls’ contribution to the organization of the party can be considered a common feature. Girls together decide how to rent an apartment (hvatera) or prioritize between them. Girls are preparing a feast, invite musicians (accordion, drums) and pay them: “We hired an accordion player… Come on, he says, 50 eggs to me, because I will play… And to prepare meals for accordion players… Well, we collect grits and eggs, milk and lard to make meals” (Recorded from E.I. Zaykina born in 1943, Kolyudy).

In the memoirs of the female Old Believers there is more frequent mention of money, a fixed payment for music, an apartment, necessity of doing one’s share to the “common pot”. Sometimes the money in the memories of women Old Believers are linked to the performance of any family responsibilities of a girl or a young lady: “I little went to the river for water. Once feeling lazy took it from the well… Twenty kopecks then I was not given. Nine kopecks ice cream cost.” (Recorded from N.G. Gromyko, Vetka of Gomel region, Belarus).

For the female Old Believers the family and the church are more important. Only in their stories celebrating of Christmas and Epiphany begins with a visit to a church service, and then is followed by the family feasts, meeting guests and relatives: “We had a family – five children, father, mother. Here from the church they come, for the holiday prepare to and from: kholodets (jellied meat) and all that is assumed. Anyway we will stand up then again, pray to God … at home because well, there is such an order. Will serve the canon of Christmas… We have it more staid, more religious, not familiarly. With us guests come, sing spiritual stichera. They praise Christ at Christmas, at Epiphany sanctify huts, who invites. We went into the house, knock: “will you bless to glory Christ?” “God bless!”” (Recorded from P.K. Ponizova, born in 1926, Zlynka, Bryansk region, Russia)

Girls of the Old Believer environment distinguished themselves from the Polesie rural women. Often in the explanations of the respondents there found the expression “in the villages” in the sense of “not us, not with us.” The women of Shelomy argued that their traditions have nothing to do with that of village, because they live close to the city: “At Christmas time did not go from house to house,only at Shrovetide…from gatherings to gatherings… With us it was not so. It was in the villages.” (Recorded from N.A. Nosova, born in 1928, Shelomy, Novozybkov district, Bryansk region, Russia). At the same time, only in Shelomy (among included in the poll of the Old Believer settlements) there was the common characteristic throughout the whole studied region of the Eastern Polesie rite “Kolodka.” Among the songs performed at our request by N.A. Nosova and E.F. Mastyugina, most are urban romances, but there are some of Polesie. Apparently, in the village of Shelomy penetrated still more elements of traditional youth festivities of the inhabitants of Polesie than in the urban environment of Old Believers. Urban women also recall instances when for a holiday very different people gathered, not differing according to the confessional principle.

P. Ponizova, an Old Believer of Zlynka, an active parishioner of the church, despite almost 90 years of age considers the village girls of her youth more loose than those in the “old faith” and gives the following autobiographical episode: “I once came for a wedding in the village. With them after the party the guys with the girls go to sleep. And I say: “It’s yet what?” In short, I broke up that spending the night. In the morning, we sleep yet, they say already: “Oh, moskalka (Muscovite) arrived and broke up spending the night””(Recorded from P.K. Ponizova, born in 1926, Zlynka, Bryansk region, Russia)

For all the women surveyed the virtue of a girl was her innocence, “honesty”. Formation of the concept of privacy of intimate relations is more typical for the Old Believers, which indicate in their replies that the guy was deciding whether to make it the issue of publicity.

With the women- residents of villages of Polesie in Vetka and Krasnogorsk districts there remained the idea of mandatory publicity of innocence of the bride during the wedding ceremony as a directly executable tradition that has sacred meaning: “And then they say, if unfair, then … the decline in the family was, in the household“(Written from E.M. Mishchenko, born in 1932, Novoe Mesto, Novozybkov district, Bryansk region).

So, in the process of collection the field data for the grant study, we managed to identify similarities and differences in the forms of communication of young people in rural areas of Polesie and of the Old Believers’ urban and rural settlements, located in the limited locus of the Eastern Polesie in the basin of rivers the Iput and the Besed. To the common features can be referred the forms of communication of young people, the girls’ active role in the preparation of the get-togethers (vechyorki (evening parties), igrishcha (merrymakings), divinations), the value of modesty and innocence for the girl. In the Old Believers’ environment, often is mentioned the importance of family holidays and choosing a marriage partner through communication of families while the freedom of choice for women is not reduced. The “money issue” in the organization of youth festivals is manifested more clearly. There is no sacred meaning of checking of innocence of the bride in the course of the wedding ceremony. At the same time the joint forms of pastime of the youth, the activities of local Soviet authorities, the cultural policy of the state aimed at attracting population in Soviet cultural institutions led to some urbanization of the rural population of Polesie and to the erosion of local Old Believers’ communities.


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