Well Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer, born in 1860, who basically invented the short story. In addition to being responsible for formulating the literary concept of Organic Unity (Chekhov's gun) and stream of consciousness he wrote really good short stories.
His works show life in Russia at the time and are a wonderful way of learning about life and culture in Imperial Russia from a humorous or at least interesting perspective.
That said, if you like Chekhov's stories, you should probably read his plays too. Chekhov was basically a master of drama and entertainment as well.