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Strange Bedfellows

"Just don't kiss and tell, Silvio."
"Just don't kiss and tell, Silvio."
As allegations of churlishness continue to ooze out about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a newly minted book by a call girl who claims to have bedded down with him offers a reminder of the tight relationship he has with Russia's top dawg:

ROME (Reuters) -- The escort at the heart of a sex scandal involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi gave graphic details of their alleged lovemaking in a book published on Tuesday and said she had been attacked and threatened since.

Patrizia D'Addario, in her memoir entitled "Enjoy, Prime Minister", describes a party held at Berlusconi's Rome residence, Palazzo Grazioli, and gives intimate details of a night spent with the 73-year-old premier in a bed given him by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The two (meaning Putin and Berlusconi) are famously close. And Reuters appears to have solved a mystery regarding the bed's provenance: a gift that keeps on giving. Which is a relief, because it boggles the mind to think why else he'd call it the "Putin bed."

Never mind the accompanying risks, given Putin's extensive experience in the art of surveillance. (Remember the then-Czech prime minister's Berlusconi, er, moment?)

Still, the revelation gives me the willies. But it does explain the Italian prime minister's willingness to scratch a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah in order to deliver a present of his own to Putin on the Russian leader's 57th birthday in October. So what did he get Putin? you might ask. Wine, apparently.

Ah, the bacchanalia continues.

-- Andy Heil

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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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