Folklorist Vladimir Grigoriev passes away

The famous folklorist and teacher, Vladimir Grigoriev died last week, “Ethnosport” has learned today. Grigoriev was born on November 7th, 1936, and died after a long illness on April 14th, 2015. He was buried in the same place where he was born—in the town of Ruza, Moscow region.

In 1984, Grigoriev defended his thesis in pedagogy on the subject \»Pedagogical management of game activity of teenagers\». It was published the same year in a book by V.Y. Volodchenko and V.B. Yumasheva titled: Come out into the Yard to Play (M.: Young Guard, 1984), where Grigoriev was already said to be a renowned expert on folklore game:

\»Grigoriev and his class went to the old Russian lands to collect games. This is not, in principle, surprising. Folklore expeditions have always existed, and they were always a huge and important source of our knowledge about the culture of a people. Expeditions brought the songs, legends, fairy tales, tunes, ditties. But the games… they had not been collected. And those ones went out to get the games: Vladimir Mikhaylovich, his wife, who had become his confederate, and his disciples. They would come to one village after another, and the locals would not understand what they needed. But once they managed to explain the purpose of their visit, both adults and children would start telling, all together. <….> When those in the games laboratory of the research institute for general education problems of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR learned about the teacher from the Lesnoy town, they very quickly realized the riches that Grigoriev and his disciples collected over the years. And when they met with the collected material, the word \»gasped\» could not possibly express the feelings of these experienced scientists.”

V.M. Grigoriev continued studying games and in 1998 he defended his doctoral thesis in pedagogy, titled \»Folk pedagogics of the game in education and personal development.\» In defending his thesis he described the birth of his interest in traditional games:

“The origins of my attitude towards the folk pedagogy of games derive from my own childhood, which fell during the war and early postwar years. It was a time of unexpected revival of the folk pedagogy of the game. Our generation would not have survived the hardest times around without a child\’s last \»vitamin of joy\»: games. But if adults were not up to the organization of games, then only amateur games could help the children, as well as home-made toys and other gaming resources accumulated through the ages by all peoples. This created the experience of relying on traditional games, and their adaptation to the new conditions, updating. It is no coincidence that the movement for the revival of folk games, the development of gaming culture as a whole, rose exactly in the late \’50s — early\’ 60s, when this generation grew up, and also breathed in a \»thawing\» of public life.\»

At the initiative of Vladimir Grigoriev, a council on the folk games was established at the research institute for common problems of education of the Russian Academy of Education. The council under his leadership carried out the analysis and coordination of national-oriented techniques for studying the traditional games of the peoples of all 35 republics of the then huge Union, thereby creating a uniquely complete set of folk games, reflecting the diversity and originality of gaming cultures. Only a part of this set was published in the books Games of the Peoples of the USSR (1985) and National Games and Traditions in Russia (1991).

Shortly before his death, together with his son Sergei Grigoriev, a Ph.D. in Psychology, Vladimir Grigoriev prepared a new edition of his book Game of the Peoples of Russia: Tradition and Modernity. The book is scheduled to be published this year, and will be an expanded and updated re-edition of his previous work Game of the Peoples of the USSR (1985).

Grigoriev is remembered warmly in the games department of the Moscow Palace of the Pioneers, where his son Sergey Grigoriev once worked, as well as students and associates of his father: L.A. Nislovskaya, A.V. Knyaginin, A.V. Yeroshkin, N. Timofeev, et al.

\»The enthusiasm of Vladimir Mikhailovich Grigoriev allowed me to find myself in the very interesting and difficult task of collecting and studying ancient Russian games. Etnopedagogics of Grigoriev became the cornerstone I constantly rely on, in my work on familiarizing children with the traditional culture of the game”, said Victor Kolchev, collector and researcher of traditional Russian games, lecturer of the Department of Art of the State Academy of Slavic culture, teacher of the Center for Children and Parents \»Christmas.\»
The Traditional Games and Ethnosport Federation of Russia and the “Ethnosport\» journal express deep condolences to the family and friends of Vladimir Grigoriev, and mourn his passing.