Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Інститут сходознавства ім. А. Кримського НАН України; Instytut skhodoznavstva im. A. Krymskoho NAN Ukrainy). A scientific research institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine established in 1991 in Kyiv by the eminent Orientalist Omeljan Pritsak, then a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The institute’s forerunners include the Ukrainian Research Institute of Oriental Studies (1930–33), established in Kyiv by writer and Orientalist Ahatanhel Krymsky (a co-founding member of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, in which he chaired a cabinet [department] of Arabic and Iranian philology and Turkology [1918–34]), and the All-Ukrainian Learned Association of Oriental Studies (1926–33) that published in Kharkiv the scholarly journal Skhidnyi svit (1927–30, called Chervonyi Skhid in 1930–1) and had branches in Kyiv and Odesa. Both institutions and the journal were shut down by the Bolshevik authorities in the early 1930s and a large number of scholars suffered political persecution during the Stalinist terror. Today, the Institute of Oriental Studies (IOS) is Ukraine’s main coordinating center for the study of languages, histories, philosophies, religions, and cultures of the peoples of Near-, Middle- and Far East, and North Africa, as well as peoples of Asian descent residing on the territory of modern Ukraine.

When in 1991 Omeljan Pritsak undertook to reestablish Oriental studies in independent Ukraine he draw upon the scholarly traditions embodied by his mentor Ahatanhel Krymsky and the latter’s colleagues from the 1920s and 30s, such as Andrii Kovalivsky, Pavlo Ritter, Antin Syniavsky, and others. According to Pritsak’s vision, the traditional Oriental studies prioritizing the history of countries and peoples of Asia and Oriental philology were to become the main focus of the newly founded IOS. From its beginning, the prime objects of research included Asia’s sacral texts, original historical sources written in Arabic, Hebrew, Turkic, and ancient Egyptian languages, and artefacts of material culture. The institute has since considerably expanded its focus and now includes four research departments: Asia-Pacific region; Near and Middle East; Eurasian steppes; and modern studies (or contemporary East).

Since the institute’s founding, its scholars have studied a wide range of topics, such as an autochthonous tradition of Koranic exegesis and the Ukrainian translation of the Koran (Valerii Rybalkin), Islam’s moral doctrine (Denys Shestopalets), a history and culture of Ancient Egypt (Mykola Tarasenko, Olena Romanova, Andrii Zelinsky), the study and cataloguing of ancient Egyptian artefacts from Ukrainian museums, archives, and libraries (Tarasenko, Romanova), Muslim Arab and Christian Arab manuscripts from the National Library of Ukraine in Kyiv and the Scientific Library of Lviv National University (Rybalkin, Danylo Radivilov, Yuliia Petrova), Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arab manuscripts from the Judaica collection of the National Library of Ukraine (Oleksii Khamrai), Turkic manuscripts from Ukrainian libraries (Naryman Seitiagiaiev [Seyityahya], Iryna Dryha), Turkish-language documents related to the history of the diplomatic relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Ukrainian Cossack Hetman state (Oleksandr Sereda), revitalization of the endangered Turkic languages of Ukraine (Dryha), a history of the Crimean Khanate (Olha Mavrina), the Alans and the Turkic-language nomads in medieval Eurasia (Oleh Bubenok), Scythians and the Iranian-language nomads in southern Ukraine (Hanna Vertiienko), the Ottoman past of southern Ukraine (Sereda), the Greeks of the Crimea and the Northern Sea of Azov Region (Marharyta Aradzhyoni), sources to the history of ancient and medieval China and their Ukrainian translations (V. Velychko, Yevhen Kichanov, Iryna Popova), Ukrainian-Chinese relations from medieval times to the present (Viktor Kiktenko), Eastern influences in the works of Lesia Ukrainka (Olena Ohnieva), a history of medieval and modern Japan, including its geopolitical interests and business culture in the late twentieth century (Vadym Rubel, Borys Yatsenko), Japan’s new religions and philosophy, particularly the role of Shinto in Japan’s modernization (Serhii Kapranov), Japan’s modern literature (Ivan Bondarenko), an impact of traditional Chinese philosophy on the modernization of China (Kiktenko), a history of Mongolia and Buddhist communities in Russia (Ivanna Otroshchenko), the study of the only medieval Tibetan manuscript collection in Ukraine (Ohnieva), the state-building in modern Nepal (Dmytro Markov), a comparison of language policies in contemporary China and Ukraine (Yevheniia Hobova), the Japanese graduates of Kyiv Theological Academy in the late 19th century (Kapranov), the politics of historical memory in contemporary Japan (Andrii Nakorchevsky), the formation of Indian nationalism (Yuliia Fil, Mariia Usoltseva), a commented translation of the Bhagavad Gita into Ukrainian (Dmytro Burba), Islamic institutions and the relations between Islamic communities and the state in today’s Russian Federation (Radivilov), conversions to Islam in Slavic Eastern Europe today (Shestopalets), the resurrection of Islam in present-day Ukraine (Serhii Danylov, Radivilov, Bubenok), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab-Israeli relations (Ihor Semyvolos), the Middle East and North Africa as the sphere of interest of Ukraine (Danylov, Oleksandr Bohomolov), and the media coverage in the Middle East and Central Asia of the ongoing Russian-Ukranian war (Danylov, Semyvolos).

Among the institute’s most notable publications are: Valerii Rybalkin, Rannie arabskie slovari (Early Arab Dictionaries,1994); Oleh Bubenok, Iasy i brodniki v stepiakh Vostochnoi Evropy (The Jasz People and Brodniks in the Steppes of Eastern Europe, 1997); Valerii Rybalkin, Arabskaia lingvisticheskaia traditsiia: istoki, tvortsy, kontseptsiia (The Arabic Linguistic Tradition: Origins, Creators, and Concept, 2000); Valerii Rybalkin, Koran. Doslidzhennia, pereklad (frahment), komentari (Koran: Studies, Translation (Fragment), Commentaries, 2002); Viktor Kiktenko, Narys z istoriї ukraїns’koho kytaieznavstva XVIII-persha polovyna XX st.: doslidzhennia, materialy, dokumenty (A Survey of History of Sinology in Ukraine in the 18th to early 20th Centuries: Studies, Materials, Documents, 2002); Oleksandr Bohomolov et al., Islam i ukraїns'ke suspil'stvo: sotsial'ni ta politychni aspekty (Islam and Ukrainian Society: Social and Political Aspects, 2004); Lesia Matvieieva, ed., Doslidzhennia tsyvilizatsii Skhodu ta Zakhodu: istoriia, filosofiia, filolohiia (The Study of the Civilization of the East and West: History, Philosophy, and Philology, 2004); Oleksandr Bohomolov et al., Islams'ka identychnist' v Ukrаїni (Islamic Identity in Ukraine, 2005); Olena Ohnieva, Zhivopis' Tibeta: Gosudarstvennyi muzei Vostoka (The Art of Tibet: The State Museum of the East, 2005); Lesia Matvieieva, ed., Epistoliarna spadshchyna A. Kryms'koho, vol. 1 (A. Krymsky: Correspondence, 2005); Ahatanhel Krymsky, Vybrani skhodoznavchi pratsi in 5 vols. Vol. 1 Arabistyka; vol 2 Tiurkolohiia (Selected Works in Oriental Studies, vol. 1 Arabistics, vol. 2 Turkology, 2007); Ivan Bondarenko, Antolohiia iapons'koї klasychnoї poeziї (An Anthology of the Japanese Classical Poetry, 2007); Ihor Semyvolos, Serhii Danylov, Oleksandr Bohomolov, Islam i polityka identychnostei u Krymu: vid symvolichnykh viin do vyznannia kul'turnoho rozmaїttia (Islam and Identity Politics in the Crimea: From Symbolic Wars to the Recognition of Cultural Diversity, 2009); Oleksandr Bohomolov, et al., Islamic Education in Ukraine in Islamic Education in the Soviet Union and Its Successor States (2010); Oleksandr Bohomolov, Medzhlis kryms'kotatars'koho narodu. Instytutsiinyi analiz (Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People: An Institutional Analysis, 2013); Oleksandr Bohomolov et al., Islam ta hromadians'ke suspil'stvo v chasy vyprobuvan' (Islam and Civil Society in Times of Challenges, 2015); Mykola Tarasenko, Studies on the Vignettes from Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead. I: The Image of ms.w Bdšt in Ancient Egyptian Mythology (2016); Yuliia Petrova, Ivan Feodorov, eds., Europe in Arabic Sources: ‘The Travels of Macarius, Patriarch of Antioch’ (2016); Oleksandr Bohomolov, Imena revoliutsiї: dyskurs Arabs'koї vesny (The Names of Revolution: Discourses of the Arab Spring, 2018); Olena Bordilovska, Indiia i Pakistan: intelektual'na istoriia rozluchennia (India and Pakistan: An Intellectual History of Separation, 2018); Oleksandr Bohomolov et al., Blyz'kyi Skhid i Pivnichna Afryka iak sfera interesiv Ukraїny (The Middle East and North Africa as Ukraine’s Sphere of Interests, 2020); Bhagavad Gita. Translated from Sanscrit by Dmytro Burba (2021); and Moderni ideolohiї Aziї (Modern Ideologies of Asia, 2021).

Apart from scholarly work, the institute’s scholars provide expertise and consulting for Ukraine’s government and international organizations, particularly in the field of interethnic and interconfessional relations. The institute has a scholarly staff of 29. Between 1994 and 1998 it published the journal Blyz'koskhidnyi kur’ier. From 1992 to 2014 IOS operated the Crimean branch located in Simferopol which published two Russian-language journals: Materialy po arkheologii, istorii i etnografii Tavrii (19 vols, 1990–2014) and Bosporskie issledovaniia (30 vols, 2001–14). Currently IOS publishes several periodicals, among them the quarterly journal Skhidnyi svit (1993–), the periodic compendiums Ukraїna-Kytai (22 vols, 2000–) and Skhodoznavstvo (89 vols, 1997–), and the information bulletins Novosti Tsentral'noi Azii i Kavkaza and Informatsiino-analitychnyi biuleten' (3 vols, 2021–). Its directors have been Omeljan Pritsak (1991–2001), Lesia Matvieieva (2001–12), Danylo Radivilov (2012–13), Oleksandr Bohomolov (2013–21), and Viktor Kiktenko (2021–).

Matvieieva, L. ‘Instytut skhodoznavstva imeni A.Iu. Kryms’koho: Siohodennia,’ Skhidnyi svit, 2008, No. 3
Skhodoznavstvo i vizantolohiia v Ukraїni v imenakh: Biobibliohraficnyi slovnyk (Kyiv 2011)
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Serhiy Bilenky

[This article was written in 2022.]

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