Blago Framed!

Serbia reacts with disbelief, shame

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is out on bail in part because he isn't deemed a flight risk, but some folks in his ancestral Serbia are ready to make a safe haven for him there.

"He must have been framed," Dragan Blagovic - who claims to be one of Blago's cousins - told a Belgrade-based AP reporter. "It's all politics."

Blagovic also spoke to Blic, a Serbian daily newspaper, that our governor owns some land in his village and "he can come to Serbia if he cannot take it any more in America."

So there's at least one place in the world that will take him.

"He can have a cow or a pig or two, a chicken," Blagovic said. "He is always welcome."

Blic's headline on Friday above its story about Blagojevich: "The Governor Defying Entire America."

If only it was that romantic.

(By the way: "If the wishes of Blic readers were fulfilled, the main stars of the next EXIT Festival, taking place between July 9th and 12th 2009 in Novi Sad, would be Coldplay, Guns 'N' Roses, Rage Against the Machine, Amy Winehouse and Rammstein.")

America's helpful ambassador to Serbia, Cameron Munter, toldBlic that Blagojevich's arrest "shows that American system deals with corruption very seriously," though it's not believed Munter has ever been to Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Tribune reports, comments on the website of the influential Belgrade newspaper Politika chastise Blagojevich for forgetting his roots and embarrassing his countrymen.

"Does Rod remember Serbia at all?" Lazar wrote. "It's probably been good for him there. A lot of people quickly adjust to a new stepmother and quickly forget about Serbia. In America, corruption is bigger than anywhere else in the world."

But Javno carries a story called "Serbs Defend Blagojevich: Rod Was Framed!" and quotes a source close to the Blagojevich family "as saying Rod has a positive disposition and is convinced that all charges would be dropped, because the court will not be able to prove them."

Radio Free Europe's report is more wistful.

Serbs used to be proud of Rod Blagojevich," RFE says in "Blagojevich: Son Of Serbia No More."

He was the epitome of the immigrant success story: the son of a Serbian steelworker, who climbed the political ladder after shining shoes and delivering pizzas.

And Illinois has a special place in the heart of the Serbs, as the state with the biggest Serbian diaspora.

"The disappointment in Serbia is rather palpable now."

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