10 literary masterpieces on which every Russian was raised - https://www.rbth.com/arts/326951-10-russian-literary-masterpieces
A nice introduction piece. Fortunately, Gutenberg provides.
* Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/23997
* A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/913
* Dead Souls, by Nikolai Gogol - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/1081
* Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/2554
* War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/2600
* Short stories by Anton Chekhov - http://gutenberg.org/ebooks/57333
I mostly agree.
A hero of our time is greatly entertaining. Much like The sorrows of the young Werther if Werther had been a man of action riding around as a soldier in the Caucasus. The hero, Pechorin, is a difficult person - arrogant and brutal while intelligent and charming. Lermontov did not produce a lot, but this one is definitely worth a read.
Crime and Punishment is a difficult piece. Often, people will describe Russian classics as heavy and deep literature, which I mostly disagree with. One of the frequently mentioned examples is War and Peace, which to be fair is long, but not particularly difficult to read. My wife finds it offensive when I say that it is essentially Gone with the Wind if Margaret Mitchell had been 50 years earlier and born into Russian aristocracy, but... that is what it looks like the most to me. But even when the translators try to keep a cool head and not translate it with a heavy and deep mindset, this book ends up heavy and deep.
Personal note: I much prefer Anna Karenina to War and Peace, if we are going Tolstoy.
I always thought he was the one who nailed it.