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Web Letter

If the story presented in this article is verified by other sources, the involvement of McCain and his advisers, other US politicians and lobbyists and the long tale of manuevering by Russian criminals (including Putin) has astounding international consequences and should be exposed far and wide. A virtual Russian satellite (economic, political, or otherwise) on the Mediterranian is no small matter and is not something to be buried in a journal of opinion, no matter how influential, and certainy no insignificant story to be ignored. The media, worldwide, should wake up and pay attention. The international implications reach far beyond the current US political campaign.

Francis Scalzi

Scottsdale, AZ

Oct 6 2008 - 7:28pm

Web Letter

In my opinion, this article is very superficial. How can anyone believe that Montenegro separated from pro-Russian Serbia to become more pro-Russian? First of all, Montenegro's independence meant sure independence for Kosovo. And that created problems for Russia and for many in the West, too.

Montenegrins share a religion with Serbians, their language is nearly the same, there are only 800,000 of them and their country had a great relationship with Serbia till they figured out it is in their economic interest to cut loose.

Ninety percent of Kosovo's population of 2 million are ethnic Albanians who are mostly Muslim, speak a completely different language and hated Serbian rule from the beginning. However, there was no legal framework to grant them independence. You see, in 1974 Yugoslavian federal units (like Montenegro) gained independence, but autonomous regions (like Kosovo) did not. But that is another problem, which begs for an international solution. Who can get independence and how?

The fact is, after independence Montenegro had a real estate boom. But that had more to do with Russians who wanted to buy a holiday home on the beautiful coast near the warm sea. And besides, locals are relatively friendly to them and mostly share their religion too.

The trouble is that nobody, and specially not foreigners, can achieve much without lobbyists. If you want to change this, prohibit any private contribution to political campaigns. But drawing the type of connections described in this article is worthy of a spy novel. Things are simpler. Montenegro needed a small push, so it contacted people close to the current president.

As for shady dealings, eagerly await a story about Rezko-Blagojevich-Obama (and associates) dealings. Before the election, to be fair...

And one question; do you want a president who can speak to the Russians on Day One or someone who will search for a phone number for three months?

Mladen Matosevic

Helsinki, Finland

Oct 4 2008 - 7:06pm

Web Letter

A bit misleading. It is true that Russian oligarchs have a big presence. At the same time, however, the US strongly promoted independence for Montenegro. The US has signed a status of forces agreement with the Montenegro government, which is on track to enter NATO.

Alan Cafruny

Hamilton College<br />Clinton, NY

Oct 2 2008 - 4:40pm