The 63-year-old Mikhail lives in eastern Belarus. He says his uncle and Kirk Douglas's father were brothers. In short, he is Michael's second cousin and Kirk's nephew.
Why, one wonders, has he kept this information to himself for so long?
"During Soviet times, we were scared that the NKVD [Soviet secret police] would come to find out about our American relatives," Mikhail Isakovich explained, "and now I am scared that bandits will come and demand money from me simply because I am the brother of a famous actor."
Now, Mikhail says, since Kirk is old and Michael sick, it is time for them to embrace each other as relatives.
Mikhail, who is a repairman of sorts and rents a room in his house, says he is not making any claim on the Hollywood branch of his family's fame or fortune. He only wishes Michael health and Kirk a long, happy life.
-- Ashley Cleek