the processes by which ethnic communities undergo change.
A distinction is made between processes of ethnic evolution and processes of ethnic transformation. The former, which are due to the socioeconomic development of ethnic communities and to the communities’ contacts with other peoples, lead primarily to change in the elements of culture and everyday life. Processes of ethnic transformation are caused by the interaction of ethnic communities, or particular segments of ethnic communities, and lead to changes in an ethnic community’s sense of identity, to the inclusion of groups of people in other ethnic communities, and, frequently, to the disappearance of some ethnic communities and the appearance of others.
The processes of ethnic transformation include consolidation and interethnic integration. Consolidation is the merging of individual peoples or segments thereof to form larger communities, as when tribes merge to form a nationality. Interethnic integration develops within multinational states and brings the peoples inhabiting them closer together, resulting in the formation of supraethnic communities. An important stage in the development of interethnic processes in the USSR is the formation of a new historical community, the Soviet people.