Russian news reports say that a court in the capital has upheld a lower court's ruling against Josef Stalin's grandson in a libel suit over a newspaper article that denounced the Soviet dictator's repressions.

The RIA Novosti and ITAR-Tass news said the Moscow City Court on Thursday rejected Yevgeny Dzhugashvili's appeal of October's ruling by a district court.

Its verdict rejected Yevgeny Dzhugashvili's claim that Novaya Gazeta damaged Stalin's honor and dignity in an article that referred to him as a "bloodthirsty cannibal."

The case essentially put Stalin on trial more than 50 years after his death. A ruling against the newspaper would have been seen as an exoneration one of the 20th century's most notorious autocrats. It also would have been a blow to Russian liberals.