Court rejects Stalin grandson’s $388,000 libel lawsuit

A Moscow court rejected a $388,000 libel lawsuit filed by the grandson of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin against a liberal Moscow radio station, the plaintiff’s lawyer said.

Stalin descendent, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, demanded 11 million rubles ($388,000) in compensation for the comment made by journalist Nikolay Svanidze on a show aired on May 21, 2010, in which he alleged that Stalin “strangled small children,” but pointed out that he was speaking metaphorically.

Svanidze was referring to an order signed by Stalin in which he allowed the shooting of children over 12 accused of being “enemies of the people.”

“The court rejected our lawsuit, though we expected a surefire win,” Dzhugashvili’s lawyer Leonid Zhura told journalists.

The judge ruled that journalists should have the right to express their opinion freely, without fears of being drawn to court.

This is not the first lawsuit filed by Dzhugashvili against Ekho Moskvy and other Russian media outlets. In December 2009, he filed a $353,000 libel suit against the radio station after one of its journalists said that no “bastard” would dare justify Stalin for sanctioning the killing of children.

Dzhugashvili lost both the previous Ekho Moskvy suit and a similar suit against the liberal Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti)

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