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The Daily Vertical: Russia's Passport To Empire (Transcript)

We haven't heard much about Novorossia lately.

And Vladimir Putin's concept of the Russian World has dropped out of the headlines.

But that may all be about to change.

Because two State Duma deputies, Konstantin Zatulin and Natalya Poklonskaya, have just introduced legislation that would grant Russian citizenship to any Russian speaker who lived in the Soviet Union.

Yeah, you heard that right. And that's not all.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

The bill also proposes granting citizenship to the Russian-speaking descendants of those who lived in the Russian Empire.

Under this legislation, millions of Ukrainian, Belarusian, Georgian, Moldovan, and Kazakh citizens would suddenly become eligible for Russian passports.

So would numerous EU citizens, as the law would also cover Russian speakers in the Baltic states, Finland, and Poland.

Now if this thing passes, it would mark a clear escalation in the Kremlin's drive to restore its imperial dominance over its old satellites.

Because as we know all too well, passportization can easily become a pretext for annexation.

And at the very least, it opens the door to Kremlin mischief and meddling in the affairs of its neighbors under the pretext of protecting Russian citizens.

Remember, Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008, which resulted in Abkhazia and South Ossetia becoming de facto Russian protectorates, was preceded by the Kremlin issuing Russian passports to the residents of those territories.

The Kremlin, it appears, is about to weaponize passports.

And if it does, we're about to hear a lot more about an expanded Russian World.

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