(CN) – A court in Moscow on Tuesday refused to grant Josef Stalin’s grandson the $340,000 he demanded in a defamation lawsuit against Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Yevgeny Dzugashvili claimed the Gazeta had hurt his family’s reputation by calling his grandfather a “bloodthirsty cannibal.”
Stalin, a Georgian whose given name was Josef Dzugashvili, took his first steps in the party by robbing banks. The Gazeta used the allegedly defamatory epithets to describe the dictator’s acts with his security chief, Lavrenti Beria, who assisted Stalin in the murder, starvation and deportation of millions.
Yevgeny Dzugashvili’s attorney told the court that Novaya Gazeta is “working against Russia to make it weaker,” The Associated Press reported. And Dzugashvili told the BBC that his grandfather “never broke any Soviet law.” But the court tossed the case anyway.