About Institute


Reference book Institute for African Studies of the RAS

First Director Ivan Potekhin (1959-1964)
and distinguished African-American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois

The Institute for African Studies (IAS) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) is Russia's leading academic research centre for African Studies and is considered to be among the most distinguished world institutions in this field. The IAS was founded in October 1959, on the eve of the collapse of the colonial system. The transformation of the political map of the world resulting from the emergence of several dozen independent states and the associated fundamental shift in the international situation demanded a thorough and detailed analysis, the implementation of which was entrusted to the newly created IAS.

Vasiliy Solodovnikov - Director from 1964 to 1976

The founder and the first Director of the Institute was Ivan Potekhin, who was succeeded in this capacity by Corresponding Members of the RAS Vasiliy Solodovnikov and Anatoliy Gromyko and Academician of the RAS Alexei Vasiliev. Since 2016, the IAS has been directed by Corresponding Member of the RAS Irina Abramova. Among the Institute's 73 research fellows there are an academician and three corresponding members of the RAS, 18 Doctors of Sciences and 43 PhDs. The IAS comprises 9 research centres, as well as the Centre of Information and International Relations, the Doctoral Studies Department, and the Editing and Publishing Department.

Anatoliy Gromyko - Director from 1976 to 1992

The IAS carries out research activities which correspond to priority areas of fundamental research identified by the Presidium of the RAS and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and which are defined in the Institute's Charter. The scope of work of the IAS encompasses fundamental, exploratory and applied research and development in the field of societal studies pertaining to the African continent or general problems of developing countries, world politics and economy as they relate to African and Arab issues. The Institute's fellows explore economic, political, social, ethnocultural, religious and civilisational problems of African countries, their histories and foreign policies, in particular Russia-Africa relations, and key trends in the field of mass media and IT in Africa.

Alexei Vasiliev - Director from 1992 to 2016

The IAS also engages in educational, cultural, consultative and analytical activities related to the aforementioned areas of scientific research and facilitates the development of international relations in its field of competence.

Over the past 60 years, the Institute's researchers have published over 1,500 scholarly works, including monographs, collections of works, articles, brochures and conference proceedings, which have reflected the most important processes taking place on the African continent. In accordance with the National Project for Science, the IAS's main objectives include maintaining and strengthening its leading position in Russian and global African Studies, elevating its scientific research standards to a qualitatively new level corresponding to the latest world trends in the field, enhancing interdisciplinary research and stepping up international cooperation and collaboration.

The Institute's research activities are intended to combine a fundamental scientific approach with the relevance and applicability of the results for the purpose of accelerating the pace of socioeconomic development of Russia.

Director Irina Abramova and President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit / kremlin.ru