Russia is a state with a multi-ethnic federal structure inherited from the USSR. Implementing an ethnic policy that would unite and integrate its citizens is one of its most important goals. Among Russia’s federal subjects are also national republics pursuing their own ethno-political concepts, either conciliatory or conflictual. Tatarstan and Chechnya are examples of such republics. With the use of the comparative method, the article is an attempt at demonstrating many factors that have an impact on the shaping and implementing of the ethnic policy through such criteria as the status of the republics, the concept of the nation, and ethnocentrism, historical memory, the role of Islam and its politicization, and the language policy. The article also outlines their consequences and possible future scenarios.