Stalin's grandson loses libel suit

Oct. 13, 2009 at 7:00 PM

MOSCOW, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- A court in Moscow ruled Tuesday for a newspaper sued by the grandson of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin.

Yevgeny Dzhugashvili claimed he had been libeled by Novaya Gazeta stories that said Stalin signed death warrants for executions to be carried out by the secret police, the Novosti news agency reported. He wanted the newspaper to retract parts of its stories and to pay 10 million rubles ($340,000) in damages.

A spokeswoman for Novaya Gazeta said its stories were based on newly opened files of the NKVD or People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, which included the secret police. Genry Reznik, the lawyer representing the newspaper, said Dzhugashvili "used the courtroom as a rostrum for his Stalinist views."

Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the 1920s to his death in 1953, remains a controversial figure in Russia. The verdict was greeted by some spectators with cries of "disgrace," while others applauded.

Dzhugashvili uses Stalin's Georgian family name. In 2002, he won a judgment from a court in Georgia against a local leader who had said he was not related to Stalin.

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