The article systematizes approaches to the concept of "national idea", defines that the national idea, first, shapes people's sense of being a single nation; second, it is an undeniable unifying constant in society; thirdly, it is acceptable to all communities and populations of the country; fourth, it is a consequence of the historical development of the ethnos and the nation; Fifth, it is based on a system of national values and linked to national culture; sixth, it is a strategic goal that must unite the nation and create the conditions for further positive developments and actions. The authors argue that for the existence and formation of a national idea, the following conditions must be realized: a) there must be an independent Ukrainian state as a form of organization and foundation of vitality of the Ukrainian nation, which is an aggregate of ethnic groups, or, if the state does not exist, it must exist in the minds of the Ukrainian people the will to self-determination, which is realized in one's own national liberation struggle; b) there must be an understanding of the Ukrainian people as a community of ethnicities, a nation separate from other nations, that is, having distinct, specific, purely national cultural features that do not coincide with those of other nations. After all, people who have lost their national traits are a denationalized people. The national idea is the basis for the formation of a national culture that influences not only national identification but also the processes of reforming and modernizing all spheres of society.
Key words: security, national security, basic security principles, national idea.