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Blood on the keys: how her father mocked Polina Osetinskaya to make her a child prodigy



When they started talking about the daughter of the screenwriter of the Soviet film hits "The Star of Captivating Happiness" and "Lomonosov" as a prodigy, the public liked it. The talented daughter of a talented dad, whom he himself teaches, is not that excellent! And only many years later, when her daughter ran away from home, the terrible truth surfaced, which she told

Screenshot: Soviet television. GOSTELERADIOFOND of Russia / YouTube

In the eighties of the last century, the Soviet Union was crazy about geeks. The talented children received an array of attention, their fates and careers were closely followed by the press - and diligently fanned the hype around them. Unofficially, they were called “Indigo Children, a term that came from the West. Officially praised as a success of Soviet pedagogical experiments - of a private, of course, order. But there was nothing really private in the USSR, as it was implied, and the ability to set up such experiments was considered the result of the entire educational system through which the parents went.

In 1981, one of the favorites of the press and admirers, the six-year-old child prodigy Polina Osetinskaya, began performing on stage. Her audience greeted especially warmly.

Everyone liked the fact that Polina was taught by her own father, Oleg Osetinsky, a screenwriter, whom the audience loved for the "Star of Captivating Happiness". Oleg told with pleasure that he was teaching his daughter according to his own unique method. True, the result was criticized by professional musicians - they say that the girl greatly simplifies the pieces, skips notes, and besides, an intense play can cripple her hands that are not set properly. Alas, all these objections were drowned in praise and applause.

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In 1988, the Soviet Union was stirred up by the news: a thirteen-year-old pianist-prodigy ran away from her father. She told reporters that she was beaten, bullied, and the impossible was demanded of her. Her hands were already in such a state that it was unlikely that she would ever become a professional pianist. No, physiologically they were normal. But due to the load and incorrect positioning, the hands could not reproduce the correct movements necessary for a professional game.

Bloody piano

In 2006, already an adult Osetinskaya wrote a book about her childhood, and the details in it were scarier than those revealed by the Soviet press. Simply because Polina then found it impossible to say about some points. The book that instantly became a bestseller is called Farewell Sadness. One could say that she completely ruined the relationship between father and daughter.

The story begins with a terrible memory. But - not the worst thing.

Twelve-year-old Polina, with a figure that had already begun to form, in an elegant dress went to her father's guests - five intelligent men. She was the little mistress of the evening, pouring tea for everyone. Suddenly, her father demanded that she play Chopin. Faster! Even faster!

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The little girl complained that her hand ached. Then the father tore the dress on the girl with the already forming chest, struck several random blows, threw her head into the battery. From there, already naked, in some shorts, he dragged back to the piano and again forced to play. Not one of those intelligent, sophisticated guests, not one of the five men said a word to Ossetian. Everyone continued to drink tea. The piano keys were covered with red smudged spots.

This incident was one of the events that prompted the girl to run away from home. But he was not the first act of bullying. Oleg Osetinsky boasted of some special “double-stress method” that made him an unremarkable daughter of a child prodigy. But no one wondered what exactly the method with that name was and whether it was stress that was safe for the child.

Screenshot: Soviet television. GOSTELERADIOFOND of Russia / YouTube

Heart attack and hungry fainting

One of Polina's earliest memories is how her dad steals her from her mother again. Parents divorced when she was just a baby. They took turns stealing and hiding the girl. In the end, as you know, she stayed with her father. But then no one knew what it would mean years of bullying.

Before Polina, Osetinsky already had two daughters. One of them ran away from home after another scandal - however, only the father himself had a scandal. On the same day, on the day of the departure of his daughter, a schoolgirl, Oleg brought his future mother Polina, his already sixth wife, to live with him. Why wives and daughters run away from Ossetian, she did not ask herself then.

In their house, music sounded constantly, and Polina, not surprisingly, was sent to a music school at the age of five: she had perfect pitch. True, dad did not like the teacher's teaching method so much that once he went to talk to her, and the teacher was taken to the hospital with a heart attack. And from that moment my father undertook to teach Polina himself. He was not a great pianist, but he considered it unnecessary for teaching.

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To raise the "super daughter", Oleg at first almost stopped feeding her. The girl's breakfast often consisted of water acidified with vinegar and several vitamins. For lunch, there could be a little cheese and honey, or an undercooked entrecote - but in splendid isolation. Dinner could have been a glass of kefir. At school, the girl fell into hungry faints, but this did not particularly disturb anyone. In addition, the father put restrictions on the time of eating: exactly two minutes. Everything that Polina did not have time to swallow at this time was declared superfluous. In general, the father actually starved the girl.

Fortunately, Osetinsky had a habit from an early age to take Polina with him to a restaurant and sit there all night. This did not give the opportunity to sleep, but there was always the opportunity to secretly snatch some food. I must say that they fed Polina's brother even less. They made him a boxing champion, and therefore, according to his father, the boy had to endure even more severe hardships.

Ossetian was looking for the daughter of music teachers, and very strong, but in the end it all came down to the fact that the teachers did not like his father's manner of speaking to them. In any case, a girl went to them for show, otherwise it was impossible to organize concerts. In fact, her music course was home hours of "double-stress training" on an empty stomach. Music, warm-up for the sake of posture and relaxation of hands, and again music. The schedule was made up by the minute, and there was practically no food on it.

Gestapo dad

The requirements for Polina's game were tough. Complex music was supposed to be played faster and faster, much faster than it was laid down by the composers - just for training. The scores were not intended for children's short fingers. However, it was impossible to object - for this father beat. Polina, taking advantage of her father's musical illiteracy, adapted to omitting some of the notes and to arrange the music in her own way. She shifted the notes so that the overall harmony was preserved, and her fingers reached.

Screenshot: Soviet television. GOSTELERADIOFOND of Russia / YouTube

At some point, under the pretext of unloading the girl's nervous system, her father added loads to her. Physical. Polina was forced to run several kilometers a day, skate and dance. She liked the dancing, however. But running on an empty stomach was pure torment. It is not surprising that in those years, Polina's favorite, re-read book was The Prisoners of Auschwitz.

Once the girl (at the request of her father) stayed overnight at her next teacher, Vera Gornostaeva. She did not look very neat, and the daughter of Gornostaeva decided to bathe her and wash her things. As soon as Polina undressed, the woman felt almost ill - the girl looked terribly dirty, all streaked. But, no matter how these streaks were scraped off, they were not washed off. They were blackened bruises. Pauline under her clothes was almost completely covered with them. Again, this fact had no consequences.

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It was almost impossible to complain to my mother. Polina was afraid that then even the connection that they managed to establish would no longer exist. The girl secretly from her father called her mother during the evening jogging from the machine. In addition, my mother got a job at a music school where Polina studied, in order to see her daughter more often. But I had to work really hard, and the meetings were short.

Usual beatings and hunger seemed to Ossetian a little, as well as endless insults addressed to his daughter. The girl was placed in front of the wall, after which the father took a tennis racket and a ball in his hands. Then, with terrible speed, the man began to launch the ball at Polina, while he was aiming at the face or chest. Dodged - well done. I didn't dodge - it's my fault, I punished myself. Daddy just kicks the ball. Do not substitute. His blow was well delivered.

True, one of these blows saved Polina's life. The father missed a serious inflammation in his daughter's ear. When it was already strong, in a rage he pressed her head against the bench. The inflamed hearth burst, and blood, diluted with pus, poured out. My father went to watch football. A strange woman called an ambulance. The doctors said: if she had not hit the bench, she would have died in a few days. The woman who saw all this did not tell anyone that the father was the culprit.

Everything for dad

Naturally, the matter was not limited to the mere pleasure of the fame of her daughter, who constantly gave concerts. Each performance brought in money, and a lot. The Ossetian was not greedy - he drank with this money himself and treated other creative personalities. There was a special chic about having a drink with someone relatively famous. Polina, meanwhile, went out to give concerts in tattered sweatpants - there was no time to sew, dad considered it unnecessary to buy new ones.

But that was not the only benefit he received. For those who were delighted with Polina's fame, he offered to teach their daughter according to his own method. Only, of course, you will have to drag around with Polina to concerts, the girl's schedules are tight ... Then, in the darkness of her performance, Polina listened to her father raping another teenage girl.

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The girls were crying and ... no consequences. The Ossetian knew how to intimidate, press, press, deprive the child of will. Polina herself was very afraid of him and was too afraid to be alone with him to warn the girls and their parents. Many years later, she will ask those girls for forgiveness. But what is she to blame - a small child next to a scary adult?

And outwardly, everything continued to be perfect. In each interview, the girl talked about the incredible unity with her father - and all the more convincing, the stronger the taste of blood was in her mouth on her teeth wounded after a man's hand hit them. On stage, she smiled learnedly. She sat down at the piano - and immediately a smile, no matter what she played. The news of the escape, when Polina reached the age that seemed to interest her father in the most frightening way, was a shock to the entire country.

Reinvent yourself

Many have long suspected that the matter was amiss (some knew specifically, but were silent). When my mother came to school for documents, the director, giving her an absolutely empty report card to her daughter, recommended to enter any grades there, and ... congratulated.

By that time, Polina already had two dozen chronic diseases, including problems with the stomach, blood vessels and heart. Due to the fact that shortly before her escape she was hospitalized with the presented condition, her father began to feed her, moreover, on schedule. But the stomach was still badly damaged. The girl has also long had suicidal thoughts.

It was when Polina told about them that her next teacher suggested running away. A plan was drawn up with my mother. It wasn't easy to do it, but they did it. The woman and the girl had to look for where to hide. My father had many friends who believed his every word. A familiar priest helped - he settled outside the city with his mother. From there they wrote a statement to the police. There, of course, not everything was indicated. The rape of other girls was hidden behind the vague word "debauchery." Polina was helped by the information support of the journalist Alexander Nevzorov.

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The pianist's career was in jeopardy. Polina's hands were badly damaged, even damaged by overload. Her psychological state was also considered grave. But a talented teacher took over her, and in our time Osetinskaya has become a truly famous pianist. Subsequently, she developed a personal life.

Polina's father gave many interviews in which he accused her of libel and stated that she owed her adult career to how effectively he worked with her as a child. He emigrated to the USA and there, using his daughter's name, at first also tried to train pianists. Nothing came of it. One can only hope that he cooked them differently from the girls he took with Polina on tour. Oleg Osetinsky died in the fall of 2020.

Alas, there are still those who use the biography of the genius Polina as an excuse for cruelty with children.

Now she lives in Russia and performs all over the world, has created and headed the "Center for the support of the professional health of musicians Polina Osetinskaya."

Screenshot: TV channel Culture / YouTube

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