Many people tend to think of Russian influence campaigns as overt forms of messaging that are easily discerned by the well-informed audience. The truth of the matter is, however, Russian influence comes in many forms — and most often, from Americans themselves that share narratives that are in keeping with their own sense of political identity. Therein lies the strength of Russian influence: they don’t need to plant thoughts in the American psyche like in the film “Inception.” Instead, they need only to exacerbate existing ideological and cultural conflicts within the American people, bolstering minority opinions in an effort to sow discord among the American people.

Just like joining the ranks of Americans that watched “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and couldn’t stomach what they perceived to be political grandstanding, Russian operatives seek conflict on social media and then invest time and resources into deepening the divide those conflicts create. Americans are already primed to wage digital war with their fellow countrymen; all influencers need to do is stoke the right fires.

Last month, it was revealed that Russian trolls had joined the debate on social media regarding vaccinations, bolstering inflammatory messaging from both pro and anti-vaccination camps. Last year, it was revealed the Russian trolls had worked to advance racial divisions in America; organizing race-based protests and counter-protests in the same communities, on the same days, in hopes of helping social media conflict boil over into actual violence.

Now, it has become clear that Russian influencers are also keen to advance American divisions centered around gender lines as well.