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    Moscow court rejects Stalin grandson's libel suit

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    A Moscow court rejected on Tuesday a libel suit filed against a newspaper by the grandson of dictator Joseph Stalin.

    MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court rejected on Tuesday a libel suit filed against a newspaper by the grandson of dictator Joseph Stalin.

    Yevgeny Dzhugashvili demanded Novaya Gazeta retract parts of an article that said Stalin personally signed death warrants. He also demanded 10 million rubles ($340,000) in compensation for damage to his honor.

    The paper's spokesperson, Nadezhda Prusenkova, told reporters the article was based on recently declassified documents, including death warrants bearing Stalin's personal signature. The warrants were then forwarded to the NKVD to be carried out.

    The Basmanny court read out the ruling, but said the details would be made public later.

    Some of those present at the court session welcomed the decision with applause, others shouted "Disgrace!"

    The lawyer acting for the plaintiff said he would appeal the ruling. "We did not expect a different ruling," Yury Mukhin said in comments.

    Alexei Benetsky, defending the author of the article, said the decision was predictable.

    "The facts presented by the plaintiff looked like farce," he said. "Justice prevailed in the Basmanny court."

    Novaya Gazeta's lawyer, Genry Reznik, said the plaintiff "used the courtroom as a rostrum for his Stalinist views."

    "Stalin has died, but Stalinism is alive!" he said.

    The court hearings drew public attention and were attended by supporters of the Stalinist ideology. Verbal clashes were heard in the corridor between the activists and the defense team.

    Journalists and visitors were allowed into the courtroom on Tuesday only after a search.

    The article published on June 22 also detailed the Katyn massacre of Polish prisoners.

    During the hearings last week, Mukhin said he doesn't think that Stalin single-handedly ordered repressions against innocent people.

    This is not the first time Dzhugashvili has sought to protect his honor in a court of law. In 2002, a court in Tbilisi ordered a local organization leader apologize to him for a newspaper article casting doubt he was Stalin's grandchild. The apology was published.

     

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