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How history readied Putin to disrupt the U.S. election

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

U.S. investigators are probing whether Russia relied on clandestine American help to identify political soft spots and pressure points in its campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But experts say that, even without local assistance, Russia's own history of exploiting animosities and jealousies across its empire gave it unusual know-how to stir up existing American tensions.

Be smart: Russia's divide-and-rule advantages do not mean it had no local help. But they may better explain how, given the raw data and tools, it managed to so skillfully execute its efforts on social media and elsewhere.