Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Global Studies
This thesis explores how homosexuality has been reframed as a political and moral “other” by far-right movements and religious institutions in Poland and Russia. I leverage theories about democratic backsliding, otherization, and religious nationalism to argue that the purpose of this alliance is to gain or keep political power. I untangle how nationalist groups, political parties, and religious institutions in Poland and Russia became aligned in this campaign of politicized homophobia. In Poland, the Catholic hierarchy’s colluded with newly formed nationalist parties to demonize the growing LGBTQ community and gain political influence through appealing to nationalist and religious feelings. In Russia, the Putin regime feared losing popularity due to economic setbacks and thus co-opted the Russian Orthodox Church language of religious nationalism. The Putin regime thus made LGBTQ rights a “wedge issue” to shore up approval ratings among the religious.