Autocrats have found a new way to turn citizens against liberal democracy: convincing them that LGBTIQ rights, granted in much of the West, pose a threat to their nation. Using homo- and transphobic rhetoric, authoritarians stir fear and suspicion of the LGBTIQ community, in turn, seeking to rally the public against a liberal democratic order. In the new issue of the Journal of Democracy, Phillip Ayoub and Kristina Stoeckl examine this disturbing global phenomenon and explain how democratic states should respond.
Autocrats make use of a wide range of tools to keep a tight grip on their citizens. The following Journal of Democracy essays explore how authoritarian leaders weaponize women’s rights, surveillance, even food, to maintain their control.
How Autocrats Weaponize Women’s Rights
Why are authoritarian regimes championing gender equality? Modern dictators want to appear progressive, liberal, and democratic, while distracting from their worst abuses.
By Pär Zetterberg and Elin Bjarnegård
Bread and Autocracy in Putin’s Russia
The Kremlin wields food as a weapon and a shield against Western interference. But Putin’s push for food autarky could backfire, driving up prices and turning Russians against the regime.
By Janetta Azarieva, Yitzhak M. Brudny, and Eugene Finkel
Subversion Inc: The Age of Private Espionage
International spying and digital subversion used to be the province of governments. Now anyone who has the cash can order hi-tech snooping and surveillance. This is a threat to the future of freedom.
By Ronald J. Deibert
China at the UN: Choking Civil Society
Beijing is using red tape, procedural rules, and a little help from its authoritarian allies to strangle NGOs seeking to participate in the world body.
By Rana Siu Inboden
Globalized authoritarian regimes are increasingly abusing Interpol’s notice system to go after political opponents based abroad. These regimes seek not only to punish their critics, but also to legitimate their own acts of repression.
By Edward Lemon
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