Alaskans we’ve lost to COVID: Vladimir Khadjinov, Russian father of four

Vladimir Khadjinov holds his son, Ilija, in 1968. Vladimir died of complications from COVID-19 in Anchorage Sep. 3, 2021.

More than 750 Alaskans have died of COVID-19 since early 2020. We asked you to tell us about the lives of some of those people and you responded. 

Rada Khadjinova lost her father, Vladimir Khadjinov, on Sept. 3. He was 85 years old. Rada says he was recovering from surgery at an Anchorage hospital when he contracted COVID and then died.

Rada says her dad spent the last seven years of his life in Alaska but he was born on Sakhalin Island in Russia. 

Listen here:

The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Rada Khadjinova: My dad was a loving dad of course and father of four. He was an engineer in his career and worked on offshore geophysical surveys and exploration things.

When I moved to Alaska, after I lived in Alaska for a while and it became my home, I finally convinced my parents to join me here in Alaska. 

We are all from Sakhalin Island, Russia, right across from the Bering Strait. 

Vladimir Khadjinov, holding his son Julian. Vladimir died from complications of COVID-19 in Anchorage on Sep. 3, 2021.

Alaska — well, it’s kind of like the Russian far east — very similar, in terms of four seasons, lots of snow, skiing and all of this great natural beauty is very similar so it felt like home.

He was born in 1936 in Russia and would have been four or five years old when WWII broke out. For any Russian person WWII was a very traumatic, dramatic. We call it the Great Patriotic War, and surviving that as a child and going through all of the aftermath is a story of survival in itself. 

By Russian standards to have four children is a huge family. Typically, our families would be two children maximum and to raise four children in the 60s and 70s was an unbelievable oddity. I think both of my parents went out of their way to show that it’s possible to raise us all and give us so much love and attention, it’s just incredible to me.

We don’t even know until they’re gone, what kind of space they actually occupy in our life. It’s sad, it’s sometimes a cliche that you say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone but it is so true. And personally for me it is so very true. 

If you would like to share a story of a friend or family member in Alaska who was lost to COVID-19, please write us here.

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Annie Feidt is the Managing Editor for Alaska's Energy Desk, a collaboration between Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KTOO Public Media in Juneau and KUCB in Unalaska. Her reporting has taken her searching for polar bears on the Chukchi Sea ice, out to remote checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, and up on the Eklutna Glacier with scientists studying its retreat. Her stories have been heard nationally on NPR and Marketplace. Annie’s career in radio journalism began in 1998 at Minnesota Public Radio, where she produced the regional edition of All Things Considered. She moved to Anchorage in 2004 with her husband, intending to stay in the 49th state just a few years. She has no plans to leave anytime soon. afeidt (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8443 | About Annie