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The Greatest Russian Literature

The selection of works for the Greatest Russian Literature list has been based on the same extensive research and surveys carried out over the past two decades for our Greatest Literature of All Time list—with special attention paid to the evaluation by Russian readers and writers.

Within the Russian context, we have endeavoured to cover all possible genres, cultures and periods.

Note, we are trying to apply the strictest definition of "Russian" in this list. That is, we are considering works only from the country of Russia, not necessarily all works written in the Russian language. Nor are we including works from other areas that may been claimed as belonging to Russia at various points in history. These distinctions are sometimes difficult to determine—especially with so many authors moving between nationalities throughout history—and we admit some errors may have crept into this list. But in creating the Greatest Russian list, and in its ongoing revisions, we seek to sort out these issues. 

As usual, preference is given on this list to major works of creative literature—such as novels, plays, and collections of stories and poems—although a few of the most significant shorter works have also been included.

Latest update: October 10, 2022

The 155 greatest works of literature from Russia

1672
The Life of Archpriest Avvakum
Avvakum
Russia
Memoir
1792
Poor Liza
Nikolai Karamzin
Russia
Novella
1820
Ruslan and Ludmila
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Poem
1824
The Fountain of Bakhchisaray
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Poem
1825
Woe From Wit
Alexander Griboyedov
Russia
Play
 
Boris Godunov
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Poem
1825–1832
Eugene Onegin
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Poem
1830
The Tales of Belkin
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Story collection
1834
The Queen of Spades
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Story
1836
The Captain's Daughter
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Novel
1837
Death of the Poet
Mikhail Lermontov
Russia
Poem
 
The Bronze Horseman
Alexander Pushkin
Russia
Poem
1840
A Hero of Our Time
Mikhail Lermontov
Russia
Novel
1842
The Demon
Mikhail Lermontov
Russia
Poem
1847
Who Is to Blame?
Alexander Herzen
Russia
Novel
1848
The Christmas Tree and the Wedding
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Story
1852
Childhood
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novella
 
A Sportsman's Sketches
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Story collection
1859
Oblomov
Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov
Russia
Novel
 
Home of the Gentry
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Novel
1860
The Storm
Alexander Ostrovsky
Russia
Play
18 60
First Love
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Novella
1862
Fathers and Sons
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Novel
1864
Notes From Underground
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novella
 
Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Nikolai Leskov
Russia
Novel
1865–1869
War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novel
1866
Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novel
 
The Gambler
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novella
1870
The History of a Town
Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin
Russia
Novel
 
King Lear of the Steppes
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Novella
1872
Demons
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novel
 
Torrents of Spring
Ivan Turgenev
Russia
Novel
1873
The Enchanted Wanderer
Nikolai Leskov
Russia
Novella
1874
The Idiot
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novel
 
Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia?
Nikolai Nekrasov
Russia
Poem
 
Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novel
1878
Without a Dowry
Alexander Ostrovsky
Russia
Play
1880
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Russia
Novel
 
The Golovlyov Family
Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin
Russia
Novel
1881
Lefty
Nikolai Leskov
Russia
Novel
1886
Motley Stories
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Story collection
including The Huntsman, and others
 
Vanka
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Story
 
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novella
 
How Much Land Does a Man Need?
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Story
1887
At Dusk
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Story collection
including Dreams, A Trivial Occurrence, A Bad Business, At Home, A Restless Guest, On the Road, Agafya, and others
1889
The Bet
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Story
 
The Kreutzer Sonata
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novella
1891
The Duel
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Novella
1895
One Autumn Night
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Story
1896
The Seagull
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Play
 
Beyond the Earth
Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy
Russia
Novel
1899
The Lady With the Dog
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Story
1900
Uncle Vanya
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Play
1901
Three Sisters
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Play
 
Ressurrection
Leo Tolstoy
Russia
Novel
1902
The Lower Depths
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Play
 
The Petty Demon
Fyodor Sologub
Russia
Novel
1903
The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov
Russia
Play
1905
Summerfolk
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Play
1907
Mother
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Novel
1910
The Village
Ivan Bunin
Russia
Novel
1913
Petersburg
Andrei Bely
Russia
Novel
 
My Childhood
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Memoir
1915
Yama: the Pit
Aleksandr Kuprin
Russia
Novel
 
A Cloud in Trousers
Vladimir Mayakovsky
Russia
Poem
1923
Chapayev
Dmitry Furmanov
Russia
Novel
1924
The White Guard
Mikhail Bulgakov
Russia
Novella
 
Cities and Years
Konstantin Fedin
Russia
Novel
 
The Three Fat Men
Yuri Olesha
Russia
Novel
 
The Iron Flood
Alexander Serafimovich
Russia
Novel
1925
Heart of a Dog
Mikhail Bulgakov
Russia
Novella
 
Mitya's Love
Ivan Bunin
Russia
Novel
 
The Artomonov Business
Maxim Gorky
Russia
Novel
 
We
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Russia
Novel
1926
The Garin Death Ray
Alexy Tolstoy
Russia
Novel
1927
Sunset
Isaac Babel
Russia
Play
 
The Twelve Chairs
Ilya Ilf, Evgeny Petrov
Russia
Novel
 
Envy
Yuri Olesha
Russia
Novel
1928
Chevengur
Andrey Platonov
Russia
Novel
 
And Quiet Flows the Don
Mikhail Sholokov
Russia
Novel
1929–1943
Peter the Great
Alexy Tolstoy
Russia
Novel
1930
The Foundation Pit
Andrey Platonov
Russia
Novel
1931
Odessa Stories
Isaac Babel
Russia
Story collection
 
The Little Golden Calf
Ilya Ilf, Evgeny Petrov
Russia
Novel
1935–1999
Soul
Andrey Platonov
Russia
Novella
1936
Invitation to a Beheading
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
1937–1945
Stories about Lelya and Minka
Mikhail Zoshchenko
Russia
Story collection
1938
The Gift
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
1940
The on Flows Home to the Sea
Mikhail Sholokov
Russia
Novel
1941
The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
1943
The Fifth Seal
Mark Aldanov
Russia
Novel
1943–1973
Before Sunrise
Mikhail Zoshchenko
Russia
Novel
1944
Red Cavalry
Isaac Babel
Russia
Novel
 
Son of the Regiment
Valentin Kataev
Russia
Novel
 
The Two Captains
Veniamin Kaverin
Russia
Novel
1946
Dark Avenues
Ivan Bunin
Russia
Story collection
1955
Collected Stories
Isaac Babel
Russia
Story collection
 
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
1957
Pnin
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
 
Doctor Zhivago
Boris Pasternak
Russia
Novel
1958
Jamila
Chingiz Aitmatov
Russia
Novel
1962
Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
 
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Russia
Novella
1963
Requiem
Anna Akhmatova
Russia
Poetry collection
1964
Antiworlds
Andrey Voznesensky
Russia
Poetry collection
1965
Sofia Petrovna
Lydia Chukovskaya
Russia
Novel
1965–2003
Alisa's Adventures
Kir Bulychev
Russia
Novel and story cycle
1967
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov
Russia
Novel
 
The ase of Comrade Tulayev
Victor Serge
Russia
Novel
1968
Cancer Ward
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Russia
Novel
 
The First Circle
Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Russia
Novel
1969
Ada or Ardor
Vladimir Nabokov
Russia
Novel
 
The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
Vladimir Voinovich
Russia
Novel
1971
August 1914
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Russia
Novel
1972
Roadside Picnic
Arkady and Boris Strugatski
Russia
Novel
1973
Moscow-Petushki
Venedikt Yerofeyev
Russia
Prose poem
1975
The Burn
Vassily Aksyonov
Russia
Novel series
1976
A School for Fools
Sasha Sokolov
Russia
Novel
 
Yawning Heights
Alexander Zinoviev
Russia
Novel
1977
What Is to Be Done?
Nikolay Chernyshevsky
Russia
Novel
1978
Pushkin House
Andrei Bitov
Russia
Novel
 
The Faculty of Useless Knowledge
Yury Dombrovsky
Russia
Novel
 
Kolyma Tales
Varlam Shalamov
Russia
Story collection
1979
It's Me, Eddie
Eduard Limonov
Russia
Novel
1981
Compromise
Sergei Dovlatov
Russia
Novel
1982
Rabbits and Boa Constrictors
Fazil Iskander
Russia
Novel
 
Summer in Baden-Baden
Leonard Tsypkin
Russia
Biography
1986
Scaffold
Chingiz Aitmatov
Russia
Novel
 
The Suitcase
Sergei Dovlatov
Russia
Story collection
1987
The Place of the Skull
Chingiz Aitmatov
Russia
Novel
1990
Russian Beauty
Victor Yerofeyev
Russia
Novel
1992
The Time: Night
Ludmila Petrushevskaya
Russia
Novella
1993
The Life of Insects
Victor Pelevin
Russia
Novel
1996
Chapayev and Pustota
Victor Pelevin
Russia
Novel
1997
Funeral Party
Ludmila Ulitskaya
Russia
Novel
1998
The Slynx
Tatyana Tolstaya
Russia
Novel
1998–2018
The Fandorin series
Boris Akunin (Grigory Chkhartishvili)
Russia
Novel series
2005
Metro 2033
Dmitry Glukhovsky
Russia
Novel
 
The Gold of the Rebellion
Alexey Ivanov
Russia
Novel
 
Maidenhair
Mikhail Shishkin
Russia
Novel
2006
Sankya
Zakhar Prilepin
Russia
Novel
 
2017
Olga Slavnikova
Russia
Novel
 
Day of the Oprichnik
Vladimir Sorokin
Russia
Novel
 
Daniel Stein, Interpreter
Ludmila Ulitskaya
Russia
Novel
2009
The Gray House
Miriam Petrosyan
Russia
Novel
 
There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby
Ludmila Petrushevskaya
Russia
Story collection
2010
The Light and the Dark
Mikhail Shishkin
Russia
Novel
2011
The Big Green Tent
Ludmila Ulitskaya
Russia
Novel
2012
The Women of Lazarus
Marina Stepnova
Russia
Novel
 
Laurus
Eugene Vodolazkin
Russia
Novel
2014
The Monastery
Zakhar Prilepin
Russia
Novel
2015
Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes
Guzel Yakhina
Russia
Novel
2016
The Petrovs in and Around the Flat
Alexey Salnikov
Russia
Novel
2017
June
Dmitry Bykov
Russia
Novel
2021
Doctor Garin
Vladimir Sorokin
Russia
Novel

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