Several American medias reported about the strange meeting that John McCain had in Montenegro, during his visit in 2006.
Extracts from the Nation magazine:
In mid-September The Nation‘s website published a photo of McCain celebrating his seventieth birthday in Montenegro in August 2006 at a yacht party hosted by convicted Italian felon Raffaello Follieri and his movie-star girlfriend Anne Hathaway. On the same day one of the largest mega-yachts in the world, the Queen K, was moored in the same bay of Kotor. This was where the real party was. The owner of the Queen K was known as “Putin’s oligarch”: Oleg Deripaska, controlling shareholder of the Russian aluminum giant RusAl, currently listed as the ninth-richest man in the world, with a rap sheet as abundant as his wealth. By mid-2005 Deripaska had already virtually taken control of Montenegro’s economy by snapping up its aluminum plant, KAP–which accounts for up to 40 percent of the country’s GDP and some 80 percent of its export earnings–in a nontransparent privatization tender strongly criticized by NGO watchdogs, Montenegrin politicians and journalists. The Nation has learned that Deripaska told one of his closest associates that he bought the plant “because Putin encouraged him to do it.” The reason: “the Kremlin wanted an area of influence in the Mediterranean.
Today, after its “independence,” Montenegro is nicknamed “Moscow by the Mediterranean.” Russian oligarchs control huge chunks of the country’s industry and prized coastline–and Russians exert a powerful influence over the country’s political culture.“Montenegro is almost a new Russian colony, as rubles flow in to buy property and business in the tiny state,” Denis MacShane, Tony Blair’s former Europe minister, wrote in Newsweek in June. The takeover of Montenegro has been a Russian geostrategic victory–quietly accomplished, paradoxically enough, with the help of McCain and his top aides.In mid-2005 Ambassador Richard Sklar, the former lead US official in the Balkans, ceased advising the Montenegrin government (he’d worked as a pro bono adviser after leaving the US diplomatic service) when it became clear the plant was being handed to Deripaska under heavy Russian pressure. “I quit because it was a bad deal, not for any political reasons. The Russians scared all the other buyers off. They offered far too little money and got themselves a sweetheart deal.” Russia’s virtual takeover of Montenegro was well under way by January 2006, when Rick Davis introduced Deripaska to McCain at a villa in Davos, Switzerland. They met again seven months later, at a reception in Montenegro celebrating McCain’s birthday, as reported in the Washington Post.
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