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The Daily Vertical: An Illegitimate Duma (Transcript)

Russia is about to elect an illegitimate parliament.

Russia is about to elect a State Duma that risks being shunned by much of the world.

Now this won't be the case just because few expect the vote to be free and fair.

And this won't be the case just because everybody expects that the results will be falsified.

All that stuff is pretty much par for the course.

After all, it's been a long time since Russia has held a free and fair election where the final tally wasn't massaged to suit the Kremlin's needs.

And that has never stopped Western legislatures from working with the Duma, and it has never prevented Russian lawmakers being admitted to international forums like the OSCE Interparliamentary Assembly or the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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No, Russia is about to elect an illegitimate parliament because some of its members will be elected from the illegally and forcefully annexed Crimean Peninsula.

The new State Duma will include members elected from territory that legally belongs to Ukraine.

And in this sense, the Kremlin is crossing a very important -- and a very disturbing -- red line.

Because any foreign legislatures, governments, or international organizations that collaborates or otherwise does business with the new State Duma will be effectively recognizing Russia's seizure of Ukrainian territory.

And we'll soon see just who is prepared to take that step.

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