Watch What You Say about Stalin
From the slightly crazy files, see this article about a defamation suit brought by Joseph Stalin’s grandson against a Russian newspaper that criticized Stalin.
In Russia, a person can bring a defamation lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person. (The U.S. has a strict rule that only living people can claim damages to their reputation in a defamation action). Nonetheless, the Russian judge held a trial and determined that the complained-of facts were, in fact true.
And like in the U.S., truth is a defense to defamation in Russia.
A case like this goes to show that people frequently – and inappropriately – turn to the court room in response to speech they disapprove of. They may be too thin-skinned, they may be looking for an easy buck, or they may simply not realize that a court is unlikely to be able to grant the type of relief that they are seeking.
In any event, it’s hard to envision a more ridiculous lawsuit than a defamation lawsuit on behalf of a man widely acknowledged to be responsible for the brutal death of millions of his subjects. But we’ll keep a lookout, just in case.