When Vladimir Met Hillary

There are many aspects to Democrats latest “fake news” fever dream in which Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss was blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin, but your correspondent got to thinking, “Does Putin have reason to hate Hillary?” It doesn’t take much digging to find many reasons. In 2009, Hillary’s “reset” with Russia after Putin’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. Hillary had characteristically set the “tone” of the meeting by saying as senator in 2008 that Putin, because he was a KGB agent, didn’t have a soul. Nothing to worry about though because Russians generally and Putin specifically are famous for their sense of humor and forgiveness. So Hillary presented Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov with an oversize button that said “reset” in both English and Russian. Oops! It actually said “overload” in Russian, which might have been more accurate. Lavrov, for his part, pressed the reset button with his middle finger.

A few short years later Putin and Hillary met face to face. Putin, knowing that Hillary was a great lover of animals, invited her to his trophy room where he showed her the many animals he had killed and stuffed. Hillary later described this interaction during a speech as being invited to Putin’s “inner sanctum,” which is about as imaginative an interpretation as saying that in Bosnia she exhibited professional cool under “sniper fire.”

Hillary helped amplify Putin’s feelings about her when the Obama administration, under the guise of a humanitarian effort, actually initiated regime change in Libya, which led to the death of Putin’s ally Muammar Qadhafii. Putin obsessed over Qadhafi’s death, and his bloody body being dragged by a mob was often shown on Russian television. Hillary observed sensitively regarding the Obama administration’s Libya policy, “We came. We saw. He died.” Putin was not amused. 

All this serves as prelude for Hillary’s criticism of Russia December 2011 Parliamentary elections. She said, using her characteristic tact, that the Russian people “deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted, and that means they deserve fair, free transparent elections and leaders who are accountable to them.” Besides the bitter irony Hillary’s comments would provide after her election defeat in 2016, her comments in 2011 resulted in mass protests against Putin in Moscow. While some of Hillary’s colleagues in the Obama administration felt her provocative statement went too far, Russian President Putin certainly did. So while evidence of Putin’s interference in Hillary’s election may be lacking, incentives for his wanting to do so are more plentiful and obvious. 

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