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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Luzhkov Wins 'Nimble Thief' Lawsuit

MTVinogradov, who was cleared by the court Monday, playing with the letters of Luzhkov's name at the February rally.
Mayor Yury Luzhkov won a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper Kommersant on Monday for printing a slogan from a banner at a protest rally that called him a "nimble thief."

Moscow's Tverskoi District Court awarded Luzhkov a total of $1,580 in damages and ordered the newspaper to publish a denial of the banner's claim.

A Kommersant lawyer vowed to file an appeal within 10 days. "We can't be satisfied with the court's decision," the lawyer, Georgy Ivanov, said outside the court.

Tverskoi District Court ordered the Kommersant publishing house to pay $1,100 in damages and Kommersant reporter Alexander Voronov to pay $480 for publishing the article on Feb. 25 about a rally against commercial development in the city. A snowman made at the rally held a banner calling Luzhkov a "nimble thief."

The court refused to fine the third co-defendant in the lawsuit, Moscow artist German Vinogradov, whose name appeared under the slogan at the rally. Vinogradov created the anagram "nimble thief" by mixing up the letters of the mayor's first and last names at a Moscow performance four years ago.

Luzhkov had asked the court to fine the three co-defendants $16,000 each.

The mayor often wins lawsuits that he files to defend his reputation. In November, Luzhkov won a slander lawsuit against writer and opposition leader Eduard Limonov, who told Radio Free Europe in an April 2007 interview that the mayor controlled the city's courts. The court fined Limonov $20,000.

In February, a group of Moscow artists staged a rally against the planned demolition of the Central House of Artists building on Krymsky Val. The city government wants to demolish the building and replace it with a 17-story development that could house a hotel.