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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stalin Grandson Sues Russian Paper for Alleged Libel of Grandpa

This story has tiny link to Frank Lloyd Wright and Wisconsin. Read on.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, grandson of former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, is suing a Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, for libeling Grandpa. The allegedly libelous statements appeared in an article published last April by a historian, Anatoly Yablokov, which said that Stalin signed “death lists” and committed “crimes against [his] own people.” The Novaya Gazeta reportedly stands by its story.

The Monitor's report is interesting not only for its coverage of the libel lawsuit, but also for covering the changing public opinion about Stalin (44 percent say he is not a state criminal), and current Russian government / media relations. On these issues, the Moscow Times reported on September 1st that:
Two significant events occurred last week. The first was the holding of the first session of the presidential commission “for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests.”

The second was the opening of Moscow’s newly renovated Kurskaya metro station, whose walls once again bear a verse from the 1944 version of the Soviet anthem: “Stalin raised us to be loyal to the nation; He inspired us to work and be heroic.”

This phrase had been plastered over during Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s campaign against Stalin’s personality cult. . . It is telling that so far not a single official has taken personal responsibility for allowing the public praise of Stalin.
A "presidential commission 'for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests'"? Well.

Returning to the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Yevgeny, is the son of Yakov Dzhugashvili. Yakov, in turn, was the son of Stalin and his first wife, Ekaterina Svanidze.

Now, here is the Frank Lloyd Wright link:

Stalin's only remaining living child is Svetlana Alliluyeva. Svetlana is the daughter of Stalin and his second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva. Svetlana was for a time married to Mr. Wright's chief apprentice, William Wesley Peters. She lives in Wisconsin.

Small world.

(Via Wall Street Journal Law Blog)

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