The study is devoted to the contribution of the Austrian ethnographer and historian R. F. Kaindl to the study of East Slavic populations and, more generally, its methodological and theoretical understanding of ethnological research. The interpretive framework for assessing Kaindl’s works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries is represented by European Ethnology (Ethnologia Europaea), which is understood herein as a distinctive scholarly tradition of studying humans and human societies. Kaindl’s contribution to the development of the European comparative ethnology included his empirically oriented ethnographic studies, through which he uncovered the fascinating world of Eastern exoticism for Central European readers, and his anticipation of the future development of European Ethnology as such. This contribution can be considered a generalization of his fi eld experience. The main part of the paper is devoted to this characteristic of Kaindl’s scientifi c activities.