His first name is an English word
Okay. Say you couldn't think of Maxim Gorky (which, almost, I couldn't, since I think of him as Maksim) (this writer, whose first name is also an English word meaning proverb or motto, was the first president of the Soviet writers' union), still the answers they came up with today really didn't work - even if they didn't know their first names.
Tolstoy? C'mon. He died before the Soviets took over.
Pasternak? A bit of a dissident, though tolerated by Stalin, they hated his novel Dr Zhivago so much it had to be smuggled out of the country. There's no way he would have been chosen to head the writers' union.
And Solzhenitsyn? A total dissident, imprisoned in the camps and eventually exiled from the country.
Plus their names - Leo (or Lev), Boris, and Aleksandr - aren't exactly English words.
Of course, this is a tough question. Lots of people don't know foreign writers' first names...