Multi-ethnicity is inherent feature of empires, post-imperial and federative state systems. Comparative review of doctrines/concepts of melting pot, multiculturalism, nation of nations, multi-national people opens the algorithms of state power and ethnicity interaction. Russian ethnology and Western anthropology differ by time of their origin (18th and 19th centuries, respectively) and by the main theme: a chief protagonist of Russian ethnography is the particular people, as far as that of Western anthropology is the universal person. Up to a day the ethnicity remains the leading theme of Russian ethnology marking its practical orientation. In 20th century the “national question” was the powerful driver of political and social reforms. As the West relies on multiparty system, the Russia/USSR relies on multiethnic one, and ethnic motives serves as counterbalance to political centrism. In balancing central power and ethnicity a fluctuation can be traced, even statistically: according to Soviet/Russian censuses, the number of peoples was growing in periods of political crises and decreasing in periods of centralism peaks. In complex multi-ethnic community the peoples and their groups maintain their self-being and specific spatial and functional niches. For each people ethnically distinguishable behavior in dimensions of kinship, sex, power, language, religion, economy, everyday life, ethics, aesthetics is significant, as well as the mutual adaptation of theses peculiarities is important for multi-ethnic community.