Hillary Clinton: Putin has an ‘almost messianic belief in himself’
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Russian President Vladimir Putin is determined to achieve his goal of “restoring imperial Russia,” having an “almost messianic belief in himself,” The Guardian reported.
Clinton spoke Thursday at the Hay Festival, an annual multiday literature and arts event held in the United Kingdom, saying she observed Putin’s attitude toward himself and Russia while she was leading the State Department and he was serving as prime minister of Russia, according to The Guardian.
She said she wrote memos warning that Putin would become a threat to Europe and the rest of the world but hoped Putin would pursue a more cooperative route with the United States.
She said she had “some positive developments” with Putin while she served as secretary of State, but their relationship declined after she criticized the legitimacy of the 2012 Russian elections that ascended Putin to the presidency.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an intergovernmental organization that monitors issues like the free press, human rights and free and fair elections, issued a statement following the election, saying the election was “heavily tilted” in Putin’s favor.
Clinton said Putin blamed her assertion that Russians deserve an election “that meets international standards” for protests that occurred after the election, according to The Guardian.
“Putin does not like critics, especially women critics,” she said. “Putin then became very adversarial toward me with few exceptions.”
Clinton’s comments come as the Russian invasion of Ukraine reaches the 100-day mark. Putin originally planned for Russian forces to take control of the country within a few days but has been increasingly frustrated with the robust opposition his soldiers have faced from the Ukrainians. He has fired numerous military leaders after being disappointed with their lack of progress, including five generals he fired Monday as officer casualties mount.
Clinton said in a clip Hay Festival posted on its Facebook page that one of the issues with governments like Putin’s is leaders are often told what they want to hear instead of the reality of a situation, leading to Putin’s faulty expectations for the war.
“Putin was told that he could get to Kyiv in three days and install a puppet government, and he could basically control Ukraine,” she said. “That’s what he was told, and it turned out to be, thankfully, wrong.”