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Serbs used to be proud of Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor now being charged with trying to sell Obama's Senate seat.

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. Writing for the Serbian, one commentator said that December 9 was a sad day for the Serbian president as Russian Patriarch Aleksy II was buried and Blagojevich was arrested.

On the site of the leading "Politika" newspaper, readers commented that he was a good man -- a good Serb -- who had been corrupted by a very American kind of vice. Others lamented the loss of a Serb who had forgotten his roots. (The Chicago Tribune has more on Serbs' reactions.)

That wasn't quite what "Politika" was saying in 2006, when the paper embraced him as one of their own, or as they called him "Our Milorad." (Rod, you see, came from Milorad.)

Now it's probably just plain old Rod.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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