Mother of Russian skating prodigy admits to beating him with a belt and locking him in dark room as punishment
Six-year-old Alexander 'Sasha' Plushenko is the second-born son of legendary former Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko and is primed for greatness. Despite his tender age, he has already starred in 20 major shows and commands a permanent position on his father's popular The Nutcracker-2 ice show.
To shed some light on his father's legacy, the now 35-year-old figure skater is a four-time Olympic medalist, a seven-time European champion, a four-time Grand Prix Final champion, and a ten-time Russian national champion. His four Olympic medals once tied the record for most Olympic medals in figure skating, though that has since been surpassed. He expects his son to follow in his footsteps and is there with an iron fist in a velvet glove to guide him along the arduous journey.
Helping him with this task is his second wife and Sasha's mother, 43-year-old businesswoman Yana Rudkovskaya. Rudkovskaya recently came into the spotlight after an interview she gave to Spletnik, a Russian magazine that offers coverage of high society and politics in the country, brought forth staunch criticism from the public for what was viewed as her harsh and inhumane treatment of Sasha in the quest to make him into the next big star.
She said that many people reprimanded her for the excessive pressure she puts on the 5-year-old and termed her 'cruel' after the interview, in which Sasha was asked to list out some of the punishments he received if his parents were displeased with him.
He had confessed that he was beaten with a belt, to which Rudkovskaya admitted, elaborating that it 'happens sometimes' with a 'small narrow belt' that was doled out by the boy's father. Sasha also said that he was made to sit in a 'dark room' if he misbehaved.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Rudkovskaya explained the young boy was punished if he behaved the wrong way with his nanny or any other children but defended the harsh disciplining by stating that she had been raised the same way.
Her response, in which she stated her parents also put her in a dark room, used a belt on her, and banned her from leaving home but that she turned out into a perfectly decent human being, did not still too well with most of the public, who demanded action be taken against her for admitting to being abusive toward her child.
Some of the comments on social media indicated the vitriol that was directed towards the businesswoman, with one reading: "Take the kid from her and toss her into prison," and another similarly stating: "Pity we cannot beat her and make her a good mother and better human being."
But Rudkovskaya, who is the record producer for Dima Bilan and the owner and producer of her husband's show The Nutcracker, is adamant that her parenting techniques are the right way to go to if she is to elevate her son the pinnacle of figure skating.
Speaking to Dozhd TV, she said: "Don't take pity on a child if you want to be the best on the planet. Sasha is a sportsman. He has three ice training sessions a day. At 9:15 am, he is already on the ice warming up, and by 4 pm he is just about finishing. He is prepared to take this pressure on - so he can be the best in the world. Am I scared that he will grow up and confront me with 'What was it all for?' No, I am not scared."
She argued that her husband had gone through a similarly grueling routine when he was being trained to be the best: "His mother told me how she raised him. In order to be the best on the planet, don't take pity on your child. You can take pity when he is asleep, or when he scratched himself or bruised his knee. Then you can kiss and feel sorry for the boy."
She says that that pampering ends the second he gets up: "When he gets up, you have to tell him that he has to train hard today, be the best and not let his father and his trainer down. Yes, we constantly inspire him, he is indeed a five-year-old child charged to become a champion."
She continued: "I want to raise my son to grow up into a real man. We want to raise first and foremost a man and a good athlete. When I say a 'man', it means a 'human being' too - decent, honest, and well-educated."
Rudkovskaya adds that her son 'loves' his training regime and that he is motivated to reach the heights his father managed to achieve: "It's impossible to kick him off the ice rink. People come to watch him. He worked through 20 ice shows at the Olimiysky arena.
"He will soon enter his first competitions. 27 cameras are accredited, four Japanese TV channels among them. He cannot do badly. When Sasha enters his dad's museum, he says 'How hard will I have to work to earn so many medals?'"
The mother said that Sasha was allowed to watch 30 minutes of television a day and that he had to earn his toys by taking part in shows and performing well, defending her hardline approach by controversially claiming when parents were too soft, the kids turned into drug addicts. She also said that compared to a lot of other parents, she was practically an angel.