Clinton Ehrlich notes that the Russian government views Clinton with the utmost contempt:
The Russian foreign-policy experts I consulted did not harbor even grudging respect for Clinton. The most damaging chapter of her tenure was the NATO intervention in Libya [bold mine-DL], which Russia could have prevented with its veto in the U.N. Security Council. Moscow allowed the mission to go forward only because Clinton had promised that a no-fly zone would not be used as cover for regime change.
Russia’s leaders were understandably furious when, not only was former Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi ousted, but a cellphone recording of his last moments showed U.S.-backed rebels sodomizing him with a bayonet. They were even more enraged by Clinton’s videotaped response to the same news: “We came, we saw, he died,” the secretary of state quipped before bursting into laughter, cementing her reputation in Moscow as a duplicitous warmonger.
The Libyan war was an important factor in the worsening of relations with Russia at the end of Obama’s first term. It was not lost on the Russians that they had acquiesced in a Western intervention that they believed was sold to them dishonestly. Russia and China could have vetoed UNSCR 1973 and deprived the U.S. and its allies of the U.N. authorization they desired, but instead they chose to abstain because of the improved relations between Washington and Moscow that had come into being over the previous year. If one wants to identify when when the mostly successful “reset” with Moscow collapsed, there is a good argument to be made that it happened in the spring and summer of 2011 with the U.S./NATO intervention in Libya.
Clinton owns the Libyan war as much as any member of the Obama administration after the president himself, and as recently as this spring she touted it as an example of “smart power at its finest.” The truth is that it was an example of almost everything that is wrong with our foreign policy, and Clinton’s proud support for it is an indictment of her judgment. The U.S. went along with the foolish demands of allies and clients that couldn’t fight the war on their own, and so facilitated a war against a government that had done nothing to the U.S. or its allies for more than a decade at least. The administration strained and damaged relations with other major and rising powers for the sake of toppling that government and destabilizing the surrounding region, and it did so in the vain hope that by siding with insurgents in one war that it would repair America’s image in the region as a whole. The U.S. and its allies went far beyond the mandate that it had been given, and pursued a war for regime change after explicitly disavowing regime change as a goal. As a result, Libya was handed over to militias and chaos, and its neighbors were left to cope with the serious and violent consequences of a reckless military intervention. Since Clinton was one of the main advocates for intervention in Libya, she is responsible for at least part of the deterioration in relations with Moscow that followed. Taken together with her past support for Western interventions in the Balkans and her overall record of hawkishness, it is no wonder that she is viewed so negatively in Moscow.