I found the July 21 op-ed article "Rubles for John-John" by Melor Sturua amusing, but I recall the atmosphere in Moscow at the time of President Kennedy's assassination quite differently.

In the early 1960s I was Moscow correspondent for McGraw-Hill news, and my recollection is that the Soviet press went out of its way to hint that the CIA or unnamed "right-wing forces" were responsible for the assassination. Standard procedure was to quote some Soviet sympathizer or left-wing publication in the West to that effect for credibility. I don't recall the Soviet press ever mentioning Lee Harvey Oswald and his background in the Soviet Union; interviews with ordinary Russians showed that they either bought the conspiracy line or were confused.

I vaguely recall Mr. Sturua as a clever writer with a knowledge of some of the subjects of interest to McGraw-Hill. But unless I am mistaken he was just as tendentious and stridently anti-American in his writings as other Soviet journalists of that era. No doubt that's how one got ahead in Moscow if one was young and ambitious. It is nice to see how much he has changed.

STEWART W. RAMSEY

Washington