Anton Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer and playwright. Widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of short fiction, Chekhov's works have influenced the progression of the modern short story. As a playwright, Anton Chekhov is credited with influencing the rise of modernism in theatre, along with August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen.
Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, is widely considered as one of the greatest authors ever. After experiencing a profound moral crisis in the 1870s, Tolstoy went through a phase of spiritual awakening, which had a great impact on his subsequent works that incorporated ideas on nonviolent resistance. These works influenced personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, thereby effectively changing the course of history.
Nikolai Gogol was a Ukrainian author who redefined Russian literature with his novels such as Dead Souls and his short stories such as The Overcoat and Diary of a Madman. Most of his works were influenced by Ukrainian folklore. He was typically fond of the grotesque as a literary element.
Maxim Gorky was a writer and political activist. He is best remembered for founding the socialist realism literary method. Gorky, who was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature on five occasions, published several novels that were later adapted into plays, films, and operas. In 1938, Valery Zhelobinsky adapted Gorky's novel Mother into an opera.
Mikhail Bulgakov was a Russian writer, playwright, and medical doctor best remembered for his work The Master and Margarita, a novel which has been acclaimed as one of the 20th century's masterpieces. Over the years, his works have inspired several other personalities, including Salman Rushdie and Mick Jagger.
It is believed Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev was highly inspired by his dominant mother in his younger days and thus created strong female characters in his novels later. He is remembered for popularizing Russian literature and realism in the West. One of his most notable works was Father and Sons.
Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Russian and Soviet playwright, poet, artist, and actor. He was a prominent figure of the Russian Futurist movement in the pre-Revolution period leading to 1917. He produced a large and diverse body of work during his career. He admired Vladimir Lenin and supported the ideology of the Bolsheviks. He was popular outside Russia as well.
One of the greatest Russian playwrights to have ever lived, Alexander Ostrovsky represented the realistic period. A law school graduate, he initially worked as a law clerk. His play Bankrot was banned because of its controversial topic. He was also associated with the Maly Theatre of Moscow.
Russian author Isaac Babel was a reporter before plunging into full-time writing. He is remembered for his short story collections Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories. One of his most popular stories was The Story of My Dovecote. He was part of the Soviet 1st Cavalry Army as Kiril Lyutov and documented the Polish-Soviet War.
A co-founder of the avant-garde association OBERIU, Daniil Kharms was a Soviet author who was a major figure of surrealism and absurdism. Known for his works such as The Old Woman, he made a huge contribution to children’s literature. He was later arrested and exiled for writing anti-Soviet works.
Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, also known as Comrade Count, initially tasted fame with the novel Nikita’s Childhood and then redefined the science-fiction, thriller, and historical novel genres. As part of the Extraordinary State Commission, he was the first to ascertain that the Nazis had used gas vans during World War II.
Known for works such as Cathedral Folk and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Nikolai Leskov enriched Russian literature with his short stories and novels that mirrored the burning social issues of his time. He had also worked as a journalist. Many of his works bear the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky.
Russian playwright Alexandr Griboyedov is best remembered for his comedy Gore ot uma, or Woe from Wit. He participated in the Decembrist revolt and even got arrested once. He was the Russian Ambassador to Iran and died at the hands of an Iranian mob during an attack on the embassy.
Russian children’s author Sergey Mikhalkov is remembered for writing the lyrics of the national anthems of Russia and the Soviet Union. He created the popular children’s character Uncle Styopa. He was also the father of filmmakers Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky. A 3-time Stalin Prize winner, he also mastered the satirical fable genre.
Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy was the second cousin of Leo Tolstoy and a gifted poet, playwright, novelist, and satirist, who often made use of historical themes. His iconic trilogy of historical dramas, consisting of The Death of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich, and Tsar Boris, was widely acclaimed.
Russian poet Nikolay Nekrasov established himself as a successful businessman before stepping into writing. He bought and developed the magazine Sovremennik, or The Contemporary. Most of his poems, such as Red-Nosed Frost, spoke about the misery of the peasant class. He also introduced the dramatic monologue to Russian literature.
Best known for his popular play The Dybbuk, which later became a cult classic and was also made into Yiddish and Hebrew movies, Russian Jewish author and folklorist S. Ansky was a specialist in oral literature. He was initially also associated with the socialist revolutionary movement of the Narodniki.
Oskar Luts was an Estonian playwright and writer. In 1945, he became the first Estonian writer to be honored with the prestigious title of People's Writer of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. As a playwright, he is best remembered for his work Kapsapea, which has been staged many times. Oskar Luts' works have also been translated into numerous languages.
Soviet Azerbaijani poet and playwright Suleyman Rustam is remembered for his works such as Armless Hero and Mother and a Postman. He served as the chief editor of Edebiyyat Qazeti and was a Communist Party member, too. He also won honors such as the Stalin State Prize.
Painter and illustrator Elena Guro, also known as Yelena Guro, introduced new color theories in painting. The only woman in the Cubo-Futurism movement, she also penned books such as The Hurdy-Gurdy. Her artist husband Mikhail Matyushin implemented her theories after her abrupt death due to leukemia at age 36.