Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

The Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace on Palace Quay is the home to the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (formerly the St. Petersburg branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies)

The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian: Институт востоковедения Российской Академии Наук), formerly Institute of Oriental Studies of the USSR Academy of Sciences, is a Russian research institution for the study of the countries and cultures of Asia and North Africa. The institute is located in Moscow, and formerly in Saint Petersburg, but in 2007 the Saint Petersburg branch was reorganized into a separate Institute of Oriental Manuscripts.


The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) history began in 1818, when an Asiatic Museum under the Imperial Academy of Sciences was set up in St. Petersburg. It was a depository of oriental manuscripts, a museum with exposition for visitors, a scientific and organizing center for oriental studies as well as a library for scientific work.

At the beginning of the 20th century, by the 100th anniversary of its foundation, the Asian Museum became a major Oriental center with a collection of manuscripts in 45 oriental languages and a library. In 1929-30 the Oriental Department of the Academy of Sciences was reorganized, and the Institute of Oriental Studies was created on the basis of the Museum under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In 1950 the institute was transferred to Moscow. At the end of the 1950s the institute became a center of oriental studies, the largest one in the USSR.

Now, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a research center where history and culture, economics and politics, languages and literature of the countries of Asia and North Africa are studied. The chronology covers all periods of the history of the Orient - from antiquity to the present day. About 500 experts work there.

Most scientific centers and departments of the institute conduct research on certain countries and regions (e.g., Center for Arab Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, Center for Indian Studies, etc.). Some departments conduct research on problems of the Orient (in particular, the Center for Energy and Transport Studies, etc.).

The institute’s depositories contain ancient books and manuscripts, exceeding one million volumes.

Today over 100 Russian postgraduate students from Moscow and other cities of Russia as well as from foreign countries train there. Those postgraduate students and postPhD. students who have defended their theses get state diplomas with international recognition. Agreements on the exchange of postgraduate students have been signed with many countries.

Conferences of the institute include:

Members of the institute take part in international conferences, congresses, symposia and ”round tables” including the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC), the International Congress of Mongolists, the International Congresses of the Turkish Historical Society and of Turkish Linguistic Society, International Congresses of Sanskritologists, of Sinologists, etc. The institute develops contacts with the Indian Council for Social Sciences Researches and with some universities of India, with the International Association for Mongol Studies as well as with the scientific and non-governmental organization of Arab countries (e.g. ALECSO).

Institute publishing includes the following:

The institute founded the Oriental University (, which trains experts in regional studies and orientalists for scientific and teaching work, public service, to work at international organizations and commercial enterprises, etc. The programs of training, textbooks and original methods have been worked out by the scholars of the Institute of Oriental Studies.

Partnerships and collaborations

Partnerships in international programs of scientific cooperation, research projects and publishing programs, representation in academic institutions of near and distant foreign countries, participation in international expeditions, conferences and seminars, teaching activity abroad in the sphere of Orientalism, training courses of members of the Institute at foreign universities and visits of trainers from abroad, membership in international Oriental associations and in societies of business, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

There are scientific contacts with Turkey, India, Egypt, Japan, Iran, and China.

Institute research topics have included:




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