Сталин и «курско-орловский диалект»: К истории одной лингвистической загадки
This paper briefl y outlines the historical and cultural context of the linguistic discussion about Marxism in linguistics that took place in Soviet Union in 1950; the materials of the discussion were published in the main Soviet newspaper, “Pravda”. I describe the reaction of the academic community to the (undoubtedly incorrect) Stalin's statement that the Kursk-Orel dialect formed the basis of the Russian national language. This reaction mostly amounted to ritual quotations of this Stalin’s claim (without detailed argumentation) in the publications on Russian language and dialectology by Soviet Slavicists that appeared in the 1950s. I discuss proposed explanations for the emergence of the “Kursk-Orel dialect” theory, in particular, Yu. M. Lotman's hypothesis about the infl uence of Maxim Gorky's statements on the origin of classical Russian literature as well as other, more speculative, assumptions. I demonstrate the unsatisfactory character of the proposed explanations and put forward a new hypothesis, which draws attention to the possible infl uence of F. Engels’ work “The Franconian dialect”.