Baby-Flipping Russian: It's Real

And it's perfectly safe to treat babies this way, insists Lena Fokina

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 19, 2011 3:39 AM CST

(Newser) – A video showing a Russian woman bending and swinging a baby in such a disturbing way that it's been banned from YouTube is real—and the baby has suffered no life-threatening or permanent injuries, or so says the flipper. Lena Fokina, who twists and turns a two-week-old infant like a blob of clay on the video, has given her first interview on her weird "baby yoga" technique, and invites parents to bring their kids on down to her "extreme gymnastics" center in Egypt. Call her a "Slavic Tiger Mother," says DadWagon, the site that nailed the interview. Fokina, 50, insists her baby exercises are completely safe.

Asked if there have ever been any accidents, Fokina says she "can't recall" any. "The babies aren’t crying—they’re even laughing," says Fokina. "This system has been used for over 30 years in Russia and the children are all alive and healthy." The controversial video shows a rather shell-shocked baby being vigorously swung and twisted into what appear to be injurious contortions, convincing several viewers that the kid had to be a rubber doll, notes Gawker. But Fokina says the baby girl, Platona, is very real—now 2 and very active, living in the Ukraine.

Lena Fokina dangles a couple of clients of her gym center.
Lena Fokina dangles a couple of "clients" of her "gym" center.   (YouTube)
Baby yoga?
Baby yoga?   (YouTube)
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