Born in 1935, he had a penchant for drawing since childhood. For the first time in the hands of the two-year-old toddler the pencil was handed over by his father, since then Victor has not broken up with him and has increasingly honed his skills. Chizhikov showed a particular penchant for caricatures, scarves, and illustrations of short stories.
In 1977, the CPSU Central Committee announced a competition to create a mascot for the future Olympics. Initially, by vote, the Soviet people chose the bear among other animals (elk, deer, seal, sable, and, actually, bear). Misha was traditionally called the hero of Russian fairy tales – a strong, bold, persistent bear. It was because of the similarity of qualities of bear and athletes that the Organizing Committee of the Moscow Olympiad and chose it as a symbol.
An unprecedented number of artists from all over the country responded to the party’s call. At that time Viktor Chizhikov was the head of the Union of Artists and together with colleagues decided to participate in the competition.
Several thousand sketches of the future mascot were sent to the Organizing Committee of the Olympics. Chizhikov created Potapych after careful analysis of previous symbols of the Olympics. As a result, his mascot turned out to be kind, open and for the first time in the history of symbols of the Olympics, looking into the eyes of his viewer. And members of the Politburo chose Mishka, and their opinion was supported by the other citizens of the USSR
Victor Sergeyevich was untold glad, after all after such an event he had to not only become famous, but also become a real millionaire. Legislation of the time assumed that the author of a drawing placed on toys, badges, key chains, envelopes and any other items should have received a percentage on their sale.
After learning about the choice of his drawing, Chizhikov went to the Organizing Committee for remuneration. But there he waited a nasty surprise – to him shook his hand and promised to thank him enough for help in the organization of the Olympic Games 250 rubles. The author of Mishka came bewildered – abroad authors of mascots received huge money, his reward was thousands of times less. After much controversy Chizhikov was issued two thousand rubles, but at the same time set tough conditions.
Victor Alexandrovich explained that now he has no right to claim authorship. The author of Mikhailo Potapych Toptygin was declared by the Soviet people. The KGB forced the signing of a paper on the transfer of fees in favor of the Organizing Committee, then the author’s signature was removed from the drawing, and Mishka became public domain.
The bear, so beloved by the people, brought his creator neither money nor glory. Chizhikov continues to work on illustrations of children’s books, but still feels resentment and annoyance, because the copyright on the bear never returned to him.