The Department of Foreign Nations Modern and Contemporary History originates from the Department of General History, which was the only History department of St. Vladimir Imperial University, founded in 1834.

Volodymyr Tsyh (1805-1837), Oleksands Stavrovskyi (1811-1882) and Vitaliy Shulgin (1821-1878) were the first professors who taught World History for the University students.

A prominent University alumnus Ivan Luchytskyi (1845-1918) worked for the Department as a professor above 30 years. He published “Feudal Aristocracy and Calvinists in France” (1871), “Catholic League and Calvinists in France” (1877), “Working Population and Economic Policy of German Cities in 15th – 16th Centuries” (1884), “Peasants Landownership   in France before the Revolution” (1900), “Agricultural Classes Position before the Revolution in France and 1789-1793 Agrarian Reform” (1912) etc. I. Luchytsky was an “Old Gromada” member and one of the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv founders. While being a deputy from Kyiv in the Third Duma (Russian Parliament) he raised an issue of using Ukrainian in courts.  

I.Luchytsky influenced greatly on a number of young researches. Among them was an outstanding historian in future Eugen Tarle (1875-1955). After graduation from the St. Vladimir Imperial University he got prof. Luchytsky’s recommendation for post-graduate study.   In 1901 he defended Master’s dissertation “Thomas More’s Social Views in Connection with Economic Situation in England of His Time”. He was generally recognized as a distinguished historian when he worked for St. Petersburg, then Moscow Universities, especially in Soviet times, though his first research papers were published in Kyiv period.

After E.Tarle (1901) and I.Luchytsky (1908) left for St. Petersburg among the most distinguished World History professors at the Department of General History was prof. Pavel Ardashev. He wrote “Provincial Administration in France in the last period of “ancien regime” (1906), etc.

In 1918-1921 Agatangel Krymskyi, outstanding Ukrainian orientalist and translator worked for the University as a World History professor. He wrote more than 1000 research papers in Asian History and Literature, numerous translations from Arabic and West European languages.  

The Department’s name has been changed several times within its long history: General History, World History, Modern and Contemporary History, etc. In Soviet times several new departments were formed at the base of the Department of Modern and Contemporary History, including History of International Relations and the USSR Foreign Policy, History of Foreign Socialist States (Slavonic History), History of Asian, African and Latin American Nations departments. The research schools, founded at the Department, were known in the Soviet Union and abroad.

The history of Balkan nations and Great Powers diplomatic rivalry for the influence on the Balkan Peninsula before the World War I was among the research issues of the main interest. In 1930s the issue was studied by O.Kiktiev (History department dean in 1937). Modern and Contemporary History of Bulgaria was studied by Professor Viktor Zebokrytskyi (1906-1975). He was the Head of the Modern History Department since 1950 (the History of International Relations and the USSR Foreign Policy Department since 1952). He raised a large group of historians majoring in Balkan studies and the Western states policy towards Balkans. Anatoliy Martynenko (born in 1924) was one of them. He started as a lecturer in 1952, got his professor degree in 1969, and headed up the Department of Modern and Contemporary History (later the Department of Developed Capitalist Countries) in 1976-1990. He wrote above 120 research papers and books on history of Bulgaria and Balkans, international relations, British History and was a scientific adviser of 16 Ph.D. dissertations (2 doctor nauk and 14 candydat nauk). V.Zebokrytskyi and A.Martynenko studies in History of Bulgaria were highly evaluated by Bulgarian experts and the government. They were honored with the First Class “Kyrylo and Mefodiy” People’s Republic of Bulgaria award.    

Valeriy Yarovyi, well-known expert in Slavonic History, started his University activity at the Department of Developed Capitalist States in 1982.   He’s been the head of the Slavonic History Department since 1988.

Vasyl Tarasenko (1907-2001), an outstanding representative of the Department, was a distinguished diplomat, retired General-Lieutenant of Diplomatic Service. He worked as an adviser in the USSR Embassy in the U.S. in 1946-1948 and represented Ukrainian SSR in the United Nations in 1948-1949. He started lecturing for History Department in 1950, was promoted to the rank of professor in 1961. He headed up the Department of Modern History and International Relations in 1960-1976 and established American studies school. Prof. Tarasenko wrote above 80 research papers and books in the U.S. History, the USSR Foreign Policy and international relations after the World War II, and was a scientific adviser of 10 Ph.D. dissertations.

In Soviet times contemporary history of West European nations and the U.S. was the issue of prior research interest. German studies started in 1930s. Later on the school was represented by associate professors V.Lysochenko and T.Lazorenko, who studied 1940-1950s German history. Today German studies are being conducted by Nataliya Papenko, Aleksandr Ivanov and his Ph.D. students.

Prof. Andriy Dzedzula (1915-1972) was an expert in international relations and France’s foreign policy after the World War II. Prof. Karp Dzedzula (1918-2002) contributed to 18th century French revolution study.

History students of 1980s remember the Department of Developed Capitalist Countries represented by A.Martynenko, B.Gonchar, T.Saltanovska, N.Markina, V.Biletskyi, N.Indutna, N.Papenko, Y.Barabanov.

In 1970s – early 1990s associate-professor Tetiana Saltanovska (born in 1922) taught courses of Modern History of European Countries and the U.S. (17th century – 1870), Historiography of Modern History and Historiography of the late 18th century French revolution. She was well known as an expert in the French revolution and Zan-Paul Marat activity.

The Department alumnus, an expert in the U.S. 1950-1980s foreign policy Nina Markina had been teaching at the Department for more than 30 years (1964-2001). Among the classes she taught there were Modern History of European Countries and the U.S. (17th century – 1870), History of the U.S. Civil War, country-specific courses. Associate-professor Nataliya Indutna studied Soviet-Polish cooperation in 1945-1970, taught courses in Spanish History and 1936-1939 Civil War in Spain.

Associate-professor Vitaliy Biletskyi () studied American-French relations during the World War II and the U.S. History, taught Modern History of European Countries and the U.S. in 1871-1918, and International Relations.

Associate-professor Yuriy Barabanov (1938-2000) majored in Great Britain’s history and foreign policy. In 1980–1997 he taught courses in Modern History of European Countries and the U.S., and the History of British Colonialism. He also leaded the Scientific Journal “Modern and Contemporary History Issues” publication.

In 1991 the Department got its current name – Foreign Nations Modern and Contemporary History. Since 1991 the Department has been headed by Professor Borys Gonchar. He has been working for the Department and developing American studies since 1974, and has created his own research school.

Associate professor Nataliya Turchak worked for the Department in late 1990s. She studied the U.S. policy towards Ukraine during George Bush administration, taught Contemporary History of European Countries and the U.S.

Associate professor Grygoriy Ignatchenko, an expert in Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada and the U.S., worked for the Department in 1993-2005. He taught Modern History of European Countries (1871-1918), and was one of the first lecturers of Asian Nations History.

Eugen Magda, Ph.D. in Political Science, worked for the Department in 1996-2001, 2007-2010. He studied Middle East Problem and Energy Issues in History Context, and taught Middle East conflict history and the U.S. Policy in the post-Soviet area.

The Department regularly invites for teaching well-known experts from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the Institute of International Relations. Within last 20 years the courses were taught by Ph.D. in History Sergiy Nikishenko (1962-2003), Mykola Nesuk, professors Eugen Kaminskyi(1951-2011), Volodymyr Golovchenko, Andriy Martynov.

About forty Ph.D. dissertations have been defended at the Department since 1991. Twenty more dissertations are in process.

90 students are majoring at the Department in 2011/2012 school year.

Today Department is represented by

Professor, Ph.D. in History (doctor nauk) Borys Gonchar, the head;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History (doctor nauk) Oleg Mashevskyi;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Nataliya Gorodnia;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Taras Hryshchenko;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Oleksandr Ivanov;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Oleksandr Komarenko;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Valeriy Pavlenko;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Nataliya Papenko;

Assistant-Professor Ph.D. in History Victoria Pilkevych;

Asistant-Professor, Ph.D. in History Olga Suhobokova;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Makar Taran;

Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History Nataliya Shevchenko.

The Faculty is honored to continue and develop the Department glorious traditions.