Russians posing as Americans. Wild conspiracy theories about political figures. Outright fabrications. All part of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections, certainly. But it turns out this kind of disinformation has been around for decades, since the early days of the Soviet Union. It’s just gotten a lot more powerful, thanks to tech and social media. But to understand what is happening now, we have to understand how we got here: the end of communism in Russia, the rise of democracy, and, ultimately, its demise at the hands of the man behind all this modern-day manipulation — Vladimir Putin. We get a front-row seat to the story with former ambassador to Russia — and a guy who knows about disinformation on a very personal level — Michael McFaul. First of a three-part series.