Maxim Gorky was a five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
A replacement aircraft, designated ANT-20bis, had begun production the following year and first flew in 1938.
It was largely identical in design but with six more-powerful Mikulin AM-34FRNV engines.
In December 1940, the aircraft was re-engined with two slightly more powerful Mikulin AM-35 engines in the inner positions (numbers three and four).
This aircraft, on 14 December 1942, crashed after the pilot allowed a passenger to take his seat momentarily and the passenger apparently disengaged the automatic pilot, sending the airplane into a nosedive from an altitude of 1,600 ft, killing all 36 on board.