Russian courts: It's okay to badmouth Stalin


It appears you can talk all manners of trash about the vilest and most murderous despot the world had ever known. Is there no justice?

Josef Stalin's grandson, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, sued a Russian newspaper for libel after it claimed Stalin personally ordered the killing of Soviet citizens. He requested an apology, and of course, some money. But alas, the courts threw it out and it appears it wasn't even a show trial. For shame.  Dzhugashvili has five days to appeal, thus saving the glorious image of his grandfather.

Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians to death during his attempt at collectivization, jailed and murdered dissidents and even those suspected of possibly being dissidents. He institutionalized the Gulag, killed every single other official from the beginning of the revolution and ended up ordering more deaths in one day than Pinochet did in his entire reign. He turned neighbors against each other and forced poor Soviet schoolchildren to read his feeble attempt at prose.

But Dzhugashvili doesn't think we need to bring that up.

The BBC reports that many think the libel case was a way for the Kremlin to try to rehabilitate Stalin's image.

The ruling further proves that you can criticize leaders in Russia all you want, just not the current ones.



Sarkozy loves Gordon Brown in a non-sexual way

The Guardian's Andrew Sparrow flags a very strange excerpt from the Financial Times's account of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's "finest moment" -- his 2008 bank rescue plan:

Tom Fletcher, Mr Brown's private secretary, recalls Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, telling the prime minister at the height of the crisis: "You know, Gordon, I should not like you. You are Scottish, we have nothing in common and you are an economist. But somehow, Gordon, I love you." Mr Sarkozy hastily added: "But not in a sexual way."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.