Mikhail Fingaret was born in 1923 in Moscow, where his father, Iosif, owned a medical equipment store. Iosif was allowed to remain in business under the temporary liberalism of the 1920s NEP (New Economic Policy). With the end of the NEP, in 1932 the whole family moved to Leningrad. There, fearing that he would be arrested as a former "bourgeois element" and his family would suffer, Iosif formally divorced his wife.
With the beginning of the Soviet-German war, Mikhail, who had begun studying in a military school in 1940, volunteered for combat. He served as a reconnaissance officer with an anti-tank artillery regiment. In mid-summer 1941 he learned that his father Iosif had been killed during a German air-raid while digging trenches near Leningrad.
In March 1943, Fingaret committed an act of heroism, for which he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. In September, in the Smolensk region, Senior Lieutenant Fingaret was fatally wounded. He died in a military hospital several days later.
His sister Samuella Fingaret (born in 1927) was a renowned Egyptologist and art historian. She authored dozens of books, including popular books for children on ancient Egypt and world history. Samuella adored her brother Mikhail and his death caused her great suffering.