Julia Ioffe, contributing writer at Politico Magazine and columnist at Foreign Policy, shared stories from Russia, anecdotes about Putin, and how Russians view the United States and the 2016 election.

When it comes to U.S. and Russian relations, Americans often misunderstand that Putin’s ploys are more about what’s happening within his own country than internationally.  “This song is not about us. Or at least it’s only partially about us,” Ioffe said. “It’s mostly about what’s happening inside Russia, and I think Putin wanted to show, both to people at home and abroad, that you could not change his regime.”

Ioffe shared stories of Putin’s background, his rise, and his control of Russian media. “When he first came into office, was obsessed with TV and understood its power,” she said. “Russians, even though they spend the most hours out of anyone in Europe on social media, still get most of their news from TV, and that news is very tightly controlled by the Kremlin.”

Later in the hour, Ioffe and Domenech discussed the rise of online Russian trolls and the DNC hack. “They do want to disrupt. They do want to troll. They do want to muddy the waters and that is a kind of old soviet ideological element…” Ioffe said. “But I think mostly it’s to show strength, to show the [Putin] can do this.”