This article analyses the conceptual path to the creation of national territorial autonomies of the Komi (Zyrians) and Komi-Permiaks in the 1920s. It focuses on the history of the idea of Komi autonomy and on the formation of the borders of the Komi Autonomous Oblast. The creation of the Komi autonomy was, first of all, the project of the small group of nationalist Komi communists. They tried to unite all the Komi politically, and were successful as far as their aims were in accordance with contemporary Soviet nationalities policy. However, they were not able to include Permiak areas, mainly because of the opposition of neighbouring Russian provincial elites.