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Dostoyevsky kin sues Russian lottery over use of writer's image

Says famed author battled addiction

ST. PETERSBURG -- A great-grandson of Fyodor Dostoyevsky is suing a Russian lottery for using the famed writer's image on tickets without permission, calling it particularly appalling because of the author's long addiction to gambling.

Dmitry Dostoyevsky has filed a lawsuit against the nationwide sports lottery Chestnaya Igra -- ''Honest Game" in Russian -- in a Moscow court, claiming $7,150 in moral damages.

But he says the fight isn't about the money.

''To use the addiction of the great writer, which he was struggling to overcome all his life, for commercial purposes is insulting not only for me as Dostoyevsky's descendant, but also for many other people who love to read his works," said Dostoyevsky, 59.

The writer, who lived from 1821 to 1881 and is known for such works as ''Crime and Punishment," ''The Brothers Karamazov" and ''The Idiot," battled the addiction for many years. His 1866 short novel, ''The Gambler," was a largely autobiographical account of a man who becomes hooked on roulette and other wagering.

Sergei Voronov, the great-grandson's lawyer, said Russian law prohibits the use of a cultural or artistic figure for commercial purposes without permission.

Chestnaya Igra said it put the portraits of a number of Russian cultural greats, including the 18th century scientist Mikhail Lomonosov and 18th century military commander General Alexander Suvorov, on tickets for ''educational purposes."

''A participant in the lottery receives not only a chance to become a big prize-winner but also to get acquainted with short biographical information about his great compatriot on the back side of the ticket," said Natella Starodubtseva, a spokeswoman for Chestnaya Igra.

She said Chestnaya Igra used an 1872 portrait of Dostoyevsky by a well-known known Russian artist, Vasily Perov, and that the picture had ''become public property and can be freely used by any person."

The lottery tickets, sold in post offices for about $1.78, can win their holders a car or its monetary equivalent of $5,352, as well as lesser sums.

The lottery is administered by the Sports Russia charitable organization, and some of the profits help fund construction projects aimed at boosting the country's sports facilities.

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