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Zoshchenko (Зощенко) Mikhail Mikhailovich

Zoshchenko (Зощенко) Mikhail Mikhailovich (1895–1958)

Mikhail Zoshchenko was the foremost Russian satirist of the Soviet period.

Zoschenko's father was a mosaicist responsible for the exterior decoration of the Suvorov Museum in Saint Petersburg. The future writer attended the Faculty of Law at the Saint Petersburg University, joined the army during World War I, then shared the views of the Serapion Brothers. He attained particular popularity in the 1920s, but lived in poverty after his denunciation in the Zhdanov decree of 1946.

He developed a simplified deadpan and mocked official demands for accessibility: "I write very compactly. My sentences are short. Accessible to the poor". Volkov compares this style to the nakedness of the Russian holy fool or yurodivy. This style was much admired by the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who adopted it as a part of his own persona. Zoshchenko wrote a series of children’s short stories about Lenin. According to University of Delaware Undergadute Research Program the stories contained criticism of the Soviet regime.

Russia, 1994, Birth Centenary of Mikhail Zoshchenko

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