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Friday, August 6, 1999 Published at 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK

World: Europe

Stalin's grandson takes the reins

Yevgeny is banned from taking part in the elections

By Moscow correspondent Robert Parsons

A grandson of the former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, has been chosen to head a coalition of communists and other leftist parties in Georgia - the birthplace of Stalin and now an independent state.

Yevgeny Dzhughashvili, a retired Soviet army colonel is calling for the restoration of the Soviet Union.

But many doubt that the alliance will win the necessary number of votes to secure even a place in parliament and the coalition may have to manage without him.

The Georgian central electoral commission says Mr Dzhughashvili cannot take part in the elections because he is not a Georgian citizen.

The shadow of the old dictator hung over the hall as Yevgeny Dzhughashvili called for a return to the authoritarian certainties of Stalinism.

The leader of the newly formed Popular Patriotic Union bears more than a passing resemblance to his grandfather and speaks Russian with the same heavy Georgian accent.

Dzhughashvili was Stalin's Georgian family name and Yevgeny is one of his eight grandchildren.

[ image: Grandfather and grandson never met]
Grandfather and grandson never met
But he never met Stalin, even though he was17 by the time his grandfather died.

Yevgeny's father, Iakov, was Stalin's eldest son. He was captured by the Germans during the war and regarded by Stalin as a traitor for falling into enemy hands.

But that has not stopped Yevgeny from revering Stalin's memory.

Wrong citizenship

The aim of the new coalition is to improve the chances of the left in Georgia's parliamentary elections on 31 October.

The country has been impoverished since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Mr Dzhughashvili will hope to capitalise on the growing disenchantment with the present government.

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