The ANT-20 was designed by Andrei Tupolev, using the all-metal airframe technologies devised by German engineer Hugo Junkers during the World War I years, and constructed between July 4, 1933 and April 3, 1934. It was one of two aircraft of its kind ever built by the Soviets. The aircraft was named after Maxim Gorky and dedicated to the 40th anniversary of his literary and public activities. The ANT-20 was the largest known aircraft to have ever used the Junkers design philosophy of corrugated sheet metal for many of the airframe’s key components, especially the corrugated sheet metal skinning of the airframe.
It was intended for Stalinist propaganda purposes and was equipped with a powerful radio set called “Voice from the sky” (“Голос с неба”, golos s neba), printing machinery, library, radiostations, photographic laboratory, and a film projector with sound for showing movies in flight. For the first time in aviation history, this aircraft was equipped with a ladder, which would fold itself and become a part of the floor.