Sir: Stalin a "world-class linguist"? John Sutherland ("Language, liberty and the English of our dictionaries", 14 August) must be joking! Stalin spoke only Georgian - his native language - and Russian (with a strong Georgian accent). Perhaps Mr Sutherland has in mind the articles on "Marxism and Questions of Linguistics" which appeared under Stalin's name towards the end of his life. These made some refreshingly sensible points - for example, that to try to distinguish between "capitalist Russian" and "socialist Russian" would be absurd - but they have generally been held to have been ghosted by professional consultants.
Editor, Oxford Russian-English Dictionary (1972)