Zoshchenko, Mikhail Michailovich (1894–1958) By Discacciati, Ornella
Mikhail Zoshchenko was a Soviet writer of short stories and tales (sometimes autobiographical), as well as a feuilletonist, memoirist, and dramatist. He was a member of the Serapion Brothers writers’ collective. Zoshchenko was best known for his hilarious lampooning of Soviet bureaucracy and the rampant scam artists of the 1920s. In the 1930s, his works were increasingly subjected to censorship and criticism. Evacuated from Leningrad during World War Two, he spent part of the war in Alma Ata (Kazakhstan). In 1946 his career was dramatically curtailed by Communist Party statesman Andrei Zhdanov, who led a public campaign of criticism against Zoshchenko and the poet Anna Akhmatova. Deprived of his membership in the Soviet Writers’ Union, and hence his right to earn a living as an author, Zoshchenko died in 1958.