In a televised meeting with Russian cultural leaders on Friday, Vladimir Putin held up J.K. Rowling as a victim of the West’s irrational “cancel culture” for her refusal to satisfy “the demands of gender rights.” In some ways, Putin’s anti-trans statement was just the latest in a long line of aggressive assaults on LGBTQ rights in his country. At the same time, though, his adoption of one of the major recent cultural grievances of the American right—even parroting their precise language—appeared to be a transparent effort to align himself with conservatives from Europe and the United States during a time when he has lost credibility with this group following the launch of his catastrophic war against Ukraine. As Republicans, in particular, become more and more open with their desire to roll back hard-won rights for LGBTQ people in the United States, they have found themselves again emulating tactics of demagoguery and hate that have been a mainstay of the Russian leader for more than a decade. In this approach, members of the GOP—such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who on Monday signed the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law by declaring he would not be cowed by “big corporations” and “Hollywood” elites who oppose the hateful measure—and Putin are political kin.