How do state policies that regulate the relationship between ethnicity and nationality change? This article examines the dynamics of persistence and change in state policies toward ethnicity. In order to better comprehend the nature of political contestation over these state policies, the author first develops a new typology, “regimes of ethnicity,” and categorizes states as having monoethnic, multiethnic, and antiethnic regimes. These regimes are defined along dimensions of membership and expression. Second, he develops a theory of ethnic regime change. He explains the persistence and change in policies related to ethnicity and nationality in Germany, the Soviet Union/post-Soviet Russia, and Turkey since the 1950s by reference to the presence or absence of three independent variables: counterelites, new discourses, and hegemonic majority. He argues that if counterelites representing constituencies with ethnically specific grievances come to power equipped with a new discourse on ethnicity and nationality and garner a hegemonic majority, they can change state policies on ethnicity. These three factors are separately necessary and jointly sufficient for change. Reform in the German citizenship law, removal of ethnicity from Russian internal passports, and the beginning of public broadcasting in Kurdish and other minority languages on state television in Turkey are examined as major changes in state policies.