Born in 1895 in Ukraine, Zoshchenko was a Soviet writer. He was a member of the literary group The Serapion Brothers, whose members were highly influenced by the works of science fiction writer and political satirist, Yevgeni Zamyatin. Humor gradually also became an integral part of Zoshchenko’s stories but his earliest stories tapped into his experience of fighting in the Russian Civil War as part of Red Army against the Whites and the First World War.
By 1920s, he became a popular satirist and his collection of short stories, The Galosh and Other Short Stories wittily critiqued the poor conditions of the people under soviet government though he never directly criticized the government itself. Instead his short stories discussed issues like repressive bureaucracy, failing housing system, rampant corruption and food shortage.
The sixty five satirical short stories in the collection are written in a deadpan and simple everyday-speak manner to make it acutely accessible to common populace. In Shostakovich and Stalin, Russian journalist Solomon Volkov quotes Zoshchenko’s assertion where he states, "I write very compactly. My sentences are short. Accessible to the poor. Maybe that's the reason why I have so many readers." Some critics have asserted that his writing style itself was a cheeky retaliation against the Soviet Union’s stress on accessible literature.