Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is a scientific research institution, established in December 1991 by decision of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The Institute was assigned a task of profound and comprehensive research of problems which acquired special importance after proclamation of independence of Ukraine and connected with needs and processes of formation, development and functioning of Ukrainian state and public society. They include history and modern dynamics of political institutes and processes, correlation between politics, political culture, ethno-national, inter-religious and inter-confessional, regional relations and factors of public life, elaboration of new paradigms of ethno-national development, prevention of ethno-national conflicts, modeling of optimal variants of ethno-politics, development of management technologies for political and inter-ethnic relations, examination of draft laws, state and non-government programs in various spheres of public life, theoretical and methodological aspects of political and ethno-political research, and implementation of their results.
Until 1997 its name was the Institute of National Relations and Political Science of NAS of Ukraine. From the date of its foundation to October 2005 I. Kuras (1939-2005), Academician of NAS of Ukraine, Vice-President of NAS of Ukraine, was the director of the Institute. After his death, the Institute was named after him by the order of the Presidium of NAS of Ukraine. In 2006 Y.A. Levenets, Doctor of Political Sciences, was elected the director of the Institute. After academician Yuri Levents’ death October 8, 2013, Doctor of historical sciences, Professor O.N. Mayboroda was appointed to Acting Director of the Institute. In accordance with the resolution of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine dated 13.11.2013, Oleg Oleksiyovych Rafalskiy was appointed to the post of scientific supervisor of Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Since December 2014, Oleg Oleksiyovych Rafalskiy is the director of I.F. Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine. The Institute consists of the following Departments: theoretical and applied problems of political science, ethno-political science, national minorities, ethno-historic research, Jewish history and culture, and the following research Centers, established under the Departments: historical political science, Holocaust history research, ethno-confessional research etc. The scientists of the Institute achieved a thorough success in theoretical and methodological grounding of ethno-political science, a new tendency of socio-humanitarian sciences, in development of object and subject areas of political and ethno-political sciences, and in improvement of conceptive-categorical apparatus of such sciences, understanding of dialectic interaction of ethnic and political, ethnic and regional factors. Ethno-national specificity, nature and features of political process and political culture in the past and present of Ukraine, religious situation and relations between different confessions have been researched. A substantial contribution was made into the development of scientific Jewish studies in Ukraine.
The Institute acts as an initiator and coordinator of scientific research projects. In particular, the Project “Political History of Ukraine in XX Century” was successfully implemented in 1999-2002. It engaged well-known specialists from scientific research and educational institutions of Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine. The 6-volumes edition, published in 2002-2003 by “Geneza” Kyiv publishing company, resulted from many years of activities. Implementation of research projects of the Institute in co-operation with groups of several universities allowed to realize specific features and character of ethno-politics in several regions of Ukraine (Zakarpatya, Prykarpatya, Volyn, Crimea), and to define their priorities and prospects.
The scientists of the Institute maintain scientific relations with research and educational institutions of Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Canada, Germany, Poland, Russia, USA, France, joint international research projects are being implemented. The Institute develops co-operation with state and public organizations, holds active dialogue with representatives of various political parties, movements, religious confessions on optimal ways of the further Ukrainian development, functioning of its political institutes, etc.
The Institute trains specialists through post-graduate and post-doctorate courses. Specialized scientific board accepts the defense of candidate and doctor dissertations. An innovative educational institution, the Institute of Political Sciences, was formed on the base of the Institute and since 2003 it started to train master specialists in relevant professions with basic complete higher education. Scientific library of the Institute includes more than 100 thousand copies of various publications. On a regular basis the institute publishes “Scientific Notes” and “DIALOGUE, History, Politics, Economy” journal. Institute is a co-founder of many periodicals, such as “Ukrainian Historical Journal”, “Man and Politics” journal, etc.
The description of published scientific works, digests of documents, brochures, articles, theses of scientific reports is contained in “Bibliography of Works of the Institute Employees in 1991-2001” published in 2002.