The European Court of Human Rights has refused to consider a claim from the grandson of Joseph Stalin. The motive for the claim was an article in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which called the Soviet dictator a "bloodthirsty cannibal."
Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, who once compared his grandfather to Jesus, lost the case against Novaya Gazeta at the cost of 160 thousand pounds. Then he decided to achieve his goal in Strasbourg, saying that the newspaper violated his right for respect for his private and family life.
The statement of Yevgeny Dzhugashvili's claim refers to two articles of Novaya Gazeta, published in 2009. The first article stated that "… Stalin and the chekists are bound by the blood they spilled, by the grave crimes they committed, above all against their own people" and called the Soviet leader a "bloodthirsty cannibal.".
ECHR has rejected Dzhugashvili's claim, noting that the Russian ruling reflected "a just balance between respect for one's private life and respect for journalists' freedom of expression." The judges felt that the articles of Novaya Gazeta about the shooting of Polish prisoners of war at Katyn in 1940 opened a debate about the events of public interest and importance and affected the alleged role of the Soviet leaders in this tragedy. ECHR believes that with this article Novaya Gazeta has contributed to the historical dispute of a huge public importance.
79-year-old Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, who lives in Moscow, zealously protects his grandfather, saying that he is not responsible for the so-called Great Terror. According to him, until the late 1930s Stalin "was surrounded by Trotskyists Jews who were manipulating his every move." "It was them who sent people to the gulag, and it only stopped when he had them all killed," Daily Telegraph quotes Yevgeny Dzhugashvili.