I've noticed that Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet and the father of Russian literature, doesn't really get as much attention as he deserves outside of the Russian-speaking world, although I suppose that's understandable to an extent as, from what I hear, even the most meticulous translations do him no justice. But I figure, if Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Nabokov, Akhmatova, and pretty much every single great Russian writer ever all bow and cower before the ghost of Pushkin, it's good enough for us, right? To call him Russia's answer to Shakespeare would even be selling him short, as he was not only on Shakespeare's level as a poet, but he also developed the Russian language as a whole and significantly augmented its vocabulary.
I'm taking a Russian lit course at school and, after very briefly going over Russian folk stories like The Firebird and Igor's Campaign, we've been studying Yevgeniy Onegin (Nabokov's translations), and I have to say it's truly a fascinating book. The techniques Pushkin uses, like narrative digression and unreliable/self-conscious narrator were way ahead of their time and didn't become popular in the Western world until the 20th century. Also fascinating is the structure, in which the book is divided into two halves, with correlations between the two halves. Not to mention, on a purely technical level, the astonishing achievement of writing a whole 8-chapter novel made up of iambic tetrameter sonnets with an extremely unusual rhyme scheme (aBaBccDDeFFeGG, with capitals being masculine and lower-case being feminine rhymes) which, according to all Russian people I've asked, flows beautifully and is very easily legible. I've started learning Russian this year, and I intend to keep it going. Hopefully in about 5 years or so I can get to a level where I can read some of Pushkin's stuff and see for myself how good the real thing is, rather than a translation (however meticulously Nabokov translated it, by his own admission it's nothing compared to the original).