At a “thank you” event Thursday night with some of her top campaign donors and fundraisers, Hillary Clinton blamed a personal grudge by Russian President Vladimir Putin for unprecedented interference in the election that resulted in her defeat.

Clinton said that in 2011, when she was secretary of state and Putin was planning his return to power, she spoke out against the “phony” parliamentary election that independent analysts concluded was rife with problems and fraud.

“At the same time, citizens of Russia were pouring into the streets to protest. . . . People who were outraged because they thought they were on a trajectory of greater freedom, greater opportunity, and they watched that, and they were appalled,” Clinton said, according to the recording posted Friday by The New York Times.

“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people. And that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” she added.

Two people who attended the event confirmed the authenticity of the audio of Clinton’s roughly 10-minute remarks.

Some of her supporters in the audience were surprised to hear her so directly describe a connection between her interaction with Putin during her time as secretary of state and the hacks targeting Democrats and the party’s institutions during the campaign, one person in attendance said.

Privately, Clinton has long said that Putin personally disliked her, that person said.

“There was a lot of suspicion about what the hell was going on,” said the person. “Internally, the comments were ‘Putin really hates her.’ ”

But she has never publicly described Russia’s interference in those terms.

Clinton also discussed the letters from FBI Director James Comey in the final weeks of the election, which that she said caused voters in swing states to break against her.

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