Addressing the issue of ethnic discrimination and xenophobia in the Krasnodar Territory, the authors indicate the discourses (academic, legislative, and media) within which ethnic discrimination is (re-)created and accepted or rejected by the populations. The authors notably examine the specific case of the Cossacks portrayed as ‘indigenous’ of the Krasnodar Territory people by regional academic and political discourse. They demonstrate that ethnic discourses are at the same time historically conditioned (by the legacy of imperial and Soviet nationalities policies) and connected with present-day social and political change (expressed notably by the weakness or absence of democratic institutions). So doing, they point out some of the causes of the failed transfer of the Western practices of multiculturalism into Russia’s conditions. They also cast light on the impact of the official experts’ racial conceptions on the securing of inequality between ‘indigenous persons’ and ‘migrants’ ― the Cossacks, who enjoy the support of the regional regime, being conceived as the “titular nationality.” In all, this article largely demonstrates that Soviet institutionalisation of ethnicity continues to dominate post-Soviet public practices, creating the conditions for ethnic discrimination and xenophobia.