Since the passing of Mikhail Mitkov-Baklanovsky due to COVID-19 on November 6th, 2020, many friends and members of communities he touched have reached out to his family with love and support. It was suggested we create a place where everyone can pitch in to support a cause, create something in his memory. We do not want to use the money raised here for burial costs, etc. Instead, we would like to use the donated money to put on a concert : book a venue a year from now, and invite all of Misha's favorite musicians to come play and pay them generously. This concert would be offered free to the public, Misha's friends and acquaintances, and nurses and doctors would also be invited. Maybe by that point, COVID-19 will be under control, and we can all enjoy each other's presence together. We hope to turn this into an annual event funded by donations collected at each year.

At age 64, he was in full health and vigor just a month prior, with no pre-existing conditions, and was strong like bull. This virus is ruthless in who it decides to take. People who had even met him briefly have expressed how he touched their lives and the great grief they experienced upon hearing the news of his passing.

Misha, theoretical physicist of quantum chemistry, child of the bright future of Socialism in progress, born and raised in Ukraine, moved to Portland in 1992 became a computer programmer, community organizer and activist, distributing life saving SAM medical products at wholesale cost to grassroots militias fighting off the Russian insurgency in Ukraine, which started in 2014. His love of music was infectious, and he would pick up instruments, bring a harmonica everywhere with him, it could cheer you up if you were having even the worst of days. He had this uncanny way of connecting people, poetry, art, music all together as a creative practice interweaved with life. He organized many campouts and was very active in the West Coast conglomeration of Bard Festivals, and was one of the founders of Russian Foundation for the Arts, a nonprofit started with a few friends to have a space in Portland where Russian-speaking musicians, poets, and performance artists could come through on their tours, have a place to crash, and even go exploring around Oregon. I was lucky enough to have my childhood filled with so many creative likenesses, some of whom were even considered celebrities in the Soviet Union, people my parents may have never even dreamed of meeting, and yet they were in their backyard jamming and barbequing and joking around.

"You're one of the few people I know who's life is work of art" a friend once told me. Everything you do turns to beauty. Everywhere Misha went, he found beauty. He could see a character in a piece of driftwood that would make him laugh, and suddenly he's taking it home, putting it up on the wall. Also quite the whittler, made a few oil paintings, wrote tons of songs and poems, crafty translations (like Rocky Racoon into Ukrainian), the list of his creative endeavors goes on. Everything had comedic respite.

He helped so many people get their footing and grow roots in a new country, start new careers, explore new pathways of life. He was always ready to help anyone that asked. It could be anything from home improvement projects to learning a computer programming language. His technical and creative skill, combined with kindness and caring for so many created a whirlwind of opportunity for everyone around him. Most importantly he was so genuinely himself that everyone around him couldn't help but take off their masks. He made it look so effortless to just be a goofball, maybe make a fool out of yourself, but then you see that it's ok. Kind of like being the first person on the dance floor, everyone sees that it's not so bad to be out there and join in. So let's dance.

Misha's sense of humor was one of a kind, a situational sort of fluid Odessa-style off the cuff banter filled with anecdotes that made your life become anecdotes and feel like you are living in a fantastical farcical play, where everything has it's own beat and timing, and you're enjoying every single moment of it. Laughing until tears are coming out of your eyes.
He loved life more than life itself.
Though his was cut short by this horrible disease, he lived a full life that even 1/10th of which could fulfill a person. There's a lot more to write about but the parrot is screaming all the other thoughts out of my head right now.

Please share your photos, stories, and experiences with him.

Thank You,


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Masha Mitkov 
Portland, OR
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