The political and cultural goals of the nativization policy were the elimination of the economic- and cultural backwardness of the Tsarist Russian Empire, caused by forced Russification. The de–Russification of non-Russian peoples facilitated harmonious relations (cultural and political) among the nations comprised by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The implementation of korenizatsiya usually was preceded by the delimitation of national borders within the USSR. The policies of korenization facilitated the communist party's establishment of the local languages in government and education, in publishing, in culture, and in public life. In that manner, the cadre of the local communist party were promoted to every level of government, and ethnic Russians working in said governments were required to learn the local language and culture of the given soviet republic.
The nationalities policy was formulated by the Bolshevik party in 1913, four years before they came to power in Russia. Vladimir Lenin sent a young Joseph Stalin (himself a Georgian and therefore an ethnic minority member) to Vienna, which was a very ethnically diverse city due to its status as capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Stalin reported back to Moscow with his ideas for the policy. It was summarized in Stalin's pamphlet (his first scholarly publication), Marxism and the National Question (1913). Ironically Stalin would also be the major proponent of its eventual dismemberment and the reemergence of Russification.
Faced with the massive non-Russian opposition to his regime, Lenin in late 1919 convinced his associates their government had to stop the cultural administrative and linguistic policies it was following in the non-Russian republics. As adopted in 1923 korenizatziya involved teaching and administration in the language of the republic; and promoting non-Russians to positions of power in Republic administrations and the party, including for a time the creation of a special group of soviets called "natssoviety" (nationality councils) in their own "natsraiony" (nationality regions) based on concentrations of minorities within what were minority republics. For example, in Ukraine in the late 1920s there were even natssoviety for Russians and Estonians.
This policy was meant to partially reverse decades of Russification, or promotion of Russian identity culture and language in non-Russian territories that had taken place during the imperial period. It won over many previously anti-bolshevik non-Russians throughout the country. It also provoked hostility among some Russians and Russified non-Russians in non-Russian republics.
In 1920s, the society was still not "Socialist". There was animosity towards the Russians and towards other nationalities on the part of the Russians, but there were also conflicts and rivalries among other nationalities.
In 1923 at the 12th Party Congress, Stalin identified two threats to the success of the party's "nationalities policy": Great Power Chauvinism (Russian chauvinism) and local nationalism. However, he described the former as the greater danger:
Great-Russian chauvinist spirit, which is becoming stronger and stronger owing to the N.E.P., . . . expression in an arrogantly disdainful and heartlessly bureaucratic attitude on the part of Russian Soviet officials towards the needs and requirements of the national republics. The multi-national Soviet state can become really durable, and the co-operation of the peoples within it really fraternal, only if these survivals are vigorously and irrevocably eradicated from the practice of our state institutions. Hence, the first immediate task of our Party is vigorously to combat the survivals of Great-Russian chauvinism.