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Russia Josef Stalin: Outspoken grandson is 'found dead'

BBC News logo BBC News 23/12/2016

Yevgeny Dzhugashvili with his grandson in Tbilisi (16 June 2006) © Getty Images Yevgeny Dzhugashvili with his grandson in Tbilisi (16 June 2006) One of the grandsons of Soviet leader Josef Stalin has been found dead in the Russian capital Moscow, ambulance officials say.

The body of Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, 80, was found close to his home in the city. The cause of death is unclear.

Mr Dzhugashvili was an outspoken defender of his grandfather's legacy, frequently using the courts to do so.

In 2015 he lost a case relating to the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish prisoners at the European Court of Human Rights.

The court rejected a complaint brought by Mr Dzhugashvili over an article accusing the Soviet leader of being a "bloodthirsty cannibal".

Published in the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the article said Soviet leaders including Stalin were "bound by much blood" by ordering the execution of about 20,000 Polish prisoners of war at Katyn.

Mr Dzhugashvili argued that the article blackened his grandfather's reputation and was defamatory. He took his case to the European court after various courts in Russia threw it out.

He also argued that the Soviet Union would not have gone downhill if his father lived longer. More recently he accused President Putin of being "without brains".

Evgeny Dzhugashvili

  • His father Yakov was captured by the Nazis in WWII and is believed to have died in a concentration camp in 1943
  • Was a lecturer at military academies for more than 20 years
  • Complained that his grandfather was being blamed "for everything" wrong in Russia
  • Took part in a number of space missions
  • Also took part in Duma elections during the 1990s
The grandson of Joseph Stalin, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, (centre) poses with his grandsons next to a portrait of their famous relative in the central square of Gori, some 80km from Tbilisi (21 December 2009) © Getty Images The grandson of Joseph Stalin, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, (centre) poses with his grandsons next to a portrait of their famous relative in the central square of Gori, some 80km from Tbilisi (21 December 2009)

Western biographies of Stalin record three children - Yakov by his first wife Ekaterina and a son and a daughter - Vasily and Svetlana - by his second wife Nadezhda.

Both sons are dead. Svetlana defected from the Soviet Union in 1966 and died in 2011 in the US.

Stalin was thought to have at least eight grandchildren.

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