It seems to me that Gaddafi is viewed in the West only as a lunatic dictator. However, after a naive investigation about his life I have realized how a complex figure he was. We know most of his negative record, so here I want to recall that Libya was one of the most "developed" countries in Africa, that he supported Nelson Mandela at a time when he and his organization were regarded as "terrorists" and he promoted the African Union.

I clearly remember that the African states were among the last to recognize the new Libyan authorities.

So I wonder whether his view in the West is fair and especially how is he viewed outside the West, e.g. in Russia, Iran and especially in Africa.

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    "developed" i dont think so,except if you mean gaddafi family is the developed one,look to libyan people,they are very poor,and underdeveloped,no infrastracture ,no education,what are you talking about..
    – md nth
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:06
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    am Libyan citizen ,its biased data,do you know the income of average libyan person a month , its 200$,i can give you real data,he did all things for himself,to expand and rule the world,gaddafi spent libyan money in africa not in Libya,he build magnificent building in Africa not in libya,he spent it in war .................,now libya is 10 log better than in past
    – md nth
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 10:32
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    you are right , i didnt address it good,if you compare libya to what it has,it could be much much better like emirate ,its very rich country ,something normal to be better than other africa,even if gaddafi spent 2% of income,
    – md nth
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 11:06
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    let us continue this discussion in chat
    – md nth
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 11:15
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    Russians love themselves every little two-bit dictator, the eviller the better. Saddam was their hero (check out russian language forums from 1998-2004), Idi Amin was a state hero.
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


I think in Russia we had little knowledge about Libya and Gaddafi before this war.

Some people remember that he was a Soviet ally in 1970s and also that he was accused in supporting terrorism.

Our impression of him as a dictator stems mostly from his pompous uniform which is stereotypical for dictators (i.e. some guy in a gold-knitted uniform->he is, probably, dictator).

During the war Gaddafi was very much supported by the leftists, anti-Americanists and patriotic nationalists, all of them constituting the majority. He was vilified by pro-American forces (liberals). This is similar to what happened during the bombing of Yugoslavia and invasion in Iraq.

The government did not support Gaddafi especially due to pro-Wertern then-president Medvedev. In justification of their position the government cited the following reasons:

  • Gaddafi in recent years had better relations with the West than with Russia, he is not an ally of ours.

  • Gaddafi was not accurate in paying the debt.

  • Gaddafi financed the pro-US Orange revolution in Ukraine to secure better relations with the West.

  • Attack on Libya is mainly attack on Chinese rather than Russian interests.

  • The US anyway will bomb Libya to ruins and overthrow him, because they decided so, so the more important task of ours is to secure better relations with the new government.

The government position was extremely unpopular among the people because many saw it as a blatant violation of international law and as a next step towards planned attack on Russia which is already in queue after Syria, Iran and Belarus. Some people compared the war with the 1936 civil war in Spain where the USSR failed to protect the anti-fascist government.

Many saw the aim of the Wastern invasion was to support Al Quaeda which allegedly now fell under American control after Bin Laden dead, similarly to how the US supported Jihadists in Afghanistan. They think that the US wants to build a powerful Sunny Wahhabi chaliphate so to increase Islamist terrorist pressure on Russia and China (this is supported by the facts of quite open Western help to the terrorist Islamist rebels in Chechnya).

Another cited reason was that the West wanted to take Lybla's oil resources, similarly to how the West attempted in Russia in the 1990s (i.e. Yukos affair and the like).

During the war many people learned more about Libya, especially that it was the most developed country in Africa, that its standards of living were higher than in all other Arab countries (including Saudi Arabia) and in Russia.

In the Internet there were many pro-Gaddafi Russian-language resources, including for example, forums of Ukrainian medics who worked in Libya (actually a very large number because Libya paid much greater money to Ukrainian and Russian doctors than the Ukraine or Russia themselves so working in Libya became a mass practice for Ukraine's and Russia's medics). It is known that Libya had a high-quality and free for all medical care system so that doctors from many countries worked there (not only from Russia and Ukraine but also from Bulgaria, India and others)

The public opinion in Russia currently strongly pro-Gaddafi, which is one of the reasons Russia took different position in Syria.

  • I wonder whether you actually personally subscribe to propositions such as "They think that the US wants to build a powerful Sunny Wahhabi chaliphate so to increase Islamist terrorist pressure on Russia and China"? Or you are you just giving a pretty good summary of what other people believe? Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 13:50
  • @Felix Goldberg it is a widespread point of view among the political analysts, while others think that the US would prefer a "controlled chaos". It is not currently clear what is the actual US aim. But that they currently support those who proclaim the Caliphate ideas (and particularly, "Emirate Kavkaz" on the Russian territory, which is planned to become a part of the Califate) is evident.
    – Anixx
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 14:19
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    for me ,its a respectful Russian view,what happened in arabic spring was unpredictable ,its neither controlled by Us nor by other world power,for now just watch and wait for the chaos to be understandable ...............
    – md nth
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 14:22
  • @Anixx: If it is evident, then what is the evidence? Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 14:24
  • @Felix Goldberg this deserves a separate question, I think.
    – Anixx
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 14:25

Gaddafi spent Libyas oil millions on his own image, self importance, family and military whilst his population were suppressed, imprisoned, tortured and left to starve.

I don't think the West's view of Gaddafi is distorted at all.

Whether it was right for the West to interfere in a country that was not their concern is a different issue and question.

  • Libya had quite small army for a country of its size. What's the basis for a claim that he spent on military? On the other hand, huge spending on medical care are quite well documented.
    – Anixx
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 17:55
  • I was referring to weaponry rather than military personnel. Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 1:07
  • Libya's weaponry also was quite outdated (compared to Syria for example). He did not have moders anti-air missiles, and even for those weapons that he had he did not pay in time.
    – Anixx
    Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 4:56

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