Zinovy Peshkov was a General of the French Army, owner of fifty government awards. He was an elder brother of Ya. M. Sverdlov and godson of Maxim Gorky. Zinovy spoke seven foreign languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.
Zinovy Alekseevich Peshkov was born on October 16, 1884 in Nizhny Novgorod.
Maxim Gorky (Alexei Peshkov), who lived in those years in Nizhny Novgorod, often came to the Sverdlovs. In 1901, Zinovy along with Maxim Gorky was arrested on charges of using a mimeograph for the purposes of revolutionary propaganda. In 1902, Zinovy left for Arzamas, where Maxim Gorky lived in exile at that time, and participated in the reading of his new play At the Bottom. In 1902, Zinovy tried to enter the Imperial Philharmonic School in Moscow, but he was not enlisted as a Jew.