Baskakov is regarded as one of the leading representatives of the Leningrad School of Painting. He studied at the Leningrad Institute of Painting and later at the Repin Institute. Baskakov was drawn to images of Lenin and the broad style of Socialist Realism. However, he was also a skilled portraitist and his work shows the influence of the French Impressionists. His work was largely unknown in the West until a number of exhibitions in Paris in 1989.