Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine is a scientific research institution, established by the decision of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in December 1991. The Institute was assigned a task of profound and comprehensive research of problems, which acquired special importance after proclamation of independence of Ukraine, and related to the 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, mutual influence of politics, political culture, ethno-national, inter-religious and inter-confessional, regional relations and factors of public life, development of new paradigms of ethno-national development, prevention of ethno-national conflicts, modeling of optimal options 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 its foundation date 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 research Centers, established at these Departments: political technologies, historical political science, Holocaust history research, problems of church and ethno-confessional research. The scientists of the Institute achieved a thorough success in theoretical 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, political, ethnic and regional factors. The researchers studied 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. A substantial contribution was made into 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 from 1999 to 2002. It engaged well-known specialists from scientific research and educational institutions of Kyiv and other regions of Ukraine. The 6-volume edition, published in 2002-2003 by “Geneza” Kyiv publishing house, was the result of many years of such work. Implementation of research projects of the Institute in co-operation with groups of several universities allowed to find out specific features and character of ethno-politics in certain Ukrainian regions (Zakarpatya, Prykarpatya, Volyn, Crimea) and to define its priorities and prospects.