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History & Philosophy of Psychology (2011), Vol.13(1), 15–28.

Characteristic Features of the


Formation of Developmental Psychology
in Russia during the Second Half of the
Nineteenth and the First Third of the
Twentieth Century
Elena Minkova
Volzhsky State Engineering and Pedagogical University,
Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Abstract

This article traces the history of developmental psychology in the works of Russian
psychologists from 1862 to 1936. Its main aim is to provide characteristic features of
its development in chronological order and at the same time underline general ideas.
Three stages are outlined, based on the predominant research methods used during
each period. A quantitative analysis of books on developmental psychology,
categorised according to subject, is presented; and reasons for the elimination of
pedology explored, in terms of social and ideological changes.

Key words: history of developmental psychology, Russia, pedology, ideology,


methodology

The main purposes of this paper are to:

- identify the main prerequisites of developmental psychology as a new branch of


psychological knowledge in Russia;
- identify the main stages of the formation of developmental psychology and describe
their characteristics and main directions of research;
- examine the research methods at different periods of time;
- discover the reasons for the elimination of pedology in Russia.

Prerequisites

In Russia the formation of developmental psychology as an independent branch of


psychological knowledge coincided with the birth of experimental psychology as a
science. The main objective prerequisite for its foundation was the idea of
development that had come from biology. The emergence of the evolutionary theories
of Charles Darwin at the end of the 19th century led to great revolutionary changes
not only in biology, but also in the scientific outlook in general. Friedrich Engels
(1988, p. 343) placed Charles Darwin’s theory within the three most important
scientific discoveries, along with the laws of thermodynamics and the discovery of the
cell.
16 Elena Minkova

The other equally important condition contributing to the establishment of


developmental psychology that emerged in Russian society at that time was the urgent
need to take psychological knowledge into account in the educational process. In
Russia this idea was most vividly portrayed in the works of the pedagogue K.D.
Ushinsky (1824-1871), the pedagogue and psychologist P.F. Kapterev (1849-1922)
and the philosopher and pedagogue P.D. Yurkevich (1826-1874), who wrote about the
importance for teachers of having an understanding of the regularities of mental
development in children.

Categorisation of subjects

Most studies on the psyche of the child published at the end of the 19th and the first
quarter of the 20th century can be divided into six groups. The first category includes
works written in the form of diaries, observations of children by their mothers or
fathers. The second category contains the first textbooks on developmental
psychology. The third group consists of works characterising age-appropriate stages
of mental development in children. The fourth group represents works that included
the principal methods and programmes devoted to the study of child psychology. The
fifth group of works is associated with problems of the upbringing and education of
children. And, finally, the sixth group includes works in which the authors analyse
individual features of mental processes or the overall physical well-being of children.
The Russian National Library in St. Petersburg contains 471 books on developmental
psychology, published in the period between 1862 and 1936. A quantitative analysis
of the subjects of these works is represented in Figure 1. This illustrates that the
highest percentage of books is about characteristics of the mental processes of
children (45%), whereas diaries about children written by parents have the lowest
proportion (2%). Textbooks on developmental psychology and books about age-
appropriate stages of mental development have a similar number, in the region of
11%. Problems of upbringing and education of children account for 15% and Methods
and programmes devoted to the study of child psychology for 16%. Such a large
volume of books (45%) devoted to Characteristics of the mental processes of children
can be explained by the fact that for a long time psychology did not exist as an
independent science but was part of philosophy. The first psychologists in Russia
were philosophers; for example, the philosopher M.M. Troyitsky (1835–1899) headed
the first psychological society in Moscow (1885) and the philosopher M.I.
Vladislavlev (1840–1890) was Rector of the University in St. Petersburg. This is why
human understanding of the world was considered key to explaining mental
processes: thoughts, experiences, sensations, feelings, perceptions, imaginations,
creativity, dreams and so on.
The small volume of parental diaries has been influenced by the following
factor: diaries were recorded by parents and not qualified psychologists. Thus how
many private diaries existed is not known due to the fact that not all of them were
published. Only after Dusha rebenka v pervije godi zhizni [The psyche of the child in
the first years of life] (1892) by Lange was published, containing a detailed
description of how to record an accurate and complete diary, did the first truly
scientific diaries come into being. (Levonevsky, 1914, Gavrilova and Stahorskaja,
1916).
Developmental psychology in Russia 1862–1936 17

Figure 1. Percentages of books published according to subject in the period 1832 to 1936 (Source:
The Russian National Library in St Petersburg)

Stages

The process of the formation of developmental psychology in Russia can be divided


into three main stages:

Stage I  from 1862 to 1900


Stage II  from 1901 to 1922
Stage III  from 1922 to 1936.

The beginning of the first phase is determined by the appearance of the first work on
developmental psychology (Wessel, 1862), whereas the end of the third stage is
linked with the decision made by the Central Committee of the Russian Bolshevik
Communist Party on “The pedological distortions in the system of the People’s
Committees of Education” in 1936. This announcement declared pedology a false
science. It prohibited the printing of scientific works on pedology, and pedological
institutions existing at the time were closed. The boundaries selected for the second
period of the formation of developmental psychology in Russia are quite vague.
However, we could say that 1901 is the starting point of the second period due to the
fact that the first laboratory of experimental educational psychology was opened by
A.P. Nechaev in St. Petersburg in that year. The main criterion for the above proposed
periods is the changes in the methods and principles of research at each stage.
18 Elena Minkova

Stage I (1862–1900)

In the second half of the 19th century there were two main theories of how
psychology as a science was formed. The first theory, developed by N. G.
Chernishevsky (1828–1889), was based on an anthropological principle. An
anthropological concept was supported by the physiologists I.M.Sechenov (1829–
1905) and I.P Pavlov (1849–1936) and later by A.A. Uhtomsky (1875–1942).
According to this theory, human mentality is the product of nature and can be studied
using the experimental method. The second theory, created by P.D. Urkevish (1826–
1874), was theological. This theory supported the idea of “inner” and “outer”
experience. “Outer experience” consisted of ideas in the mind, gained through the
senses, while “inner experience” was gained through thoughts. The philosopher V.S.
Solovjev (1853–1900) continued to develop Urkevich’s theory and was influenced by
them in his works. Great controversy surrounded both theories. The dispute between
Chernishevsky and Urkevich was revealed on the pages of Russian periodicals where
both opponents led heated discussions for some time.
The second half of the 19th century was a period of fundamental change in
Russian scientific life. In 1864 the Pedagogical Museum opened in St. Petersburg,
which was “one of the first not only in Russia but throughout the world” (Nikolskaja,
1995, p.14).1 The museum became an important scientific centre for the development
of psychological-pedagogical science. At that time a new publishing activity began.
There was a whole galaxy of educational magazines and newspapers published in
Russia: Russkij pedagogicheskij vestnik [Russian Pedagogical Journal] (1857), Jurnal
dlja vospitanija [Journal for Education] (1857), Uchitel [Teacher] (1861),
Pedagogicheskij sbornik [Pedagogical Collection] (1864), Narodnaja shkola [Folk
School] (1869), Vospitanije i obuchenije [Education and training] (1877), Vestnik
vospitanija [Journal of Education] (1890) and others. In 1869, with active
participation from K.D. Ushinsky, N.H. Wessel and P.F. Kapterev, the Pedagogical
Society of St. Petersburg came into being.
Amongst the first systematic works on developmental psychology published in
the late 19th century were works by N.H. Wessel (1862), P.D. Yurkevich (1865),
K.D. Ushynsky (1867), K.V. Elnitsky (1898) and P.F. Kapterev (1877). The
philosophical basis of their psychological and educational concepts was different:
N.H. Wessel, K.D. Ushynsky and P.D. Urkevich were close to religious and moral
views on the essence of the psyche, in contrast to P.F. Kapterev, who built his
psychological concepts on a materialist understanding of the psyche. Despite the
differences in ideological positions of the scientists, they were all aware of how
important it was to make psychology the major science in education.
Scientists set themselves the task of identifying patterns of child development,
analysing the factors, driving forces and mechanisms of development of various
aspects of the child psyche. In the works of these scholars the roles of heredity and
environment were especially highlighted as major factors of mental development in
children. For example, Y. M. Simonovich wrote about the role of a supportive
external environment and internal causes of development. In his view, “inherited
qualities of an organism” are the main factors contributing to, or conversely,
inhibiting development. In this case, however, without the presence of a favourable
external environment “inherited qualities fade away”, i.e. the development of the child
can stop and take on a future “painful” (unhealthy) form (Simonovich, 1884, p. 6).

1
All translations from Russian are by the present author.
Developmental psychology in Russia 1862–1936 19

Researchers concluded that the following are the characteristics of the mental
development of a child:

- Development takes place gradually and consistently.


- There are strong links between the mental and physical development of a child.
- The process of mental development is of an active, creative nature.
- The identity of each child is unique and different, and therefore the researcher must
take into account individual characteristics of every child’s development.

The main method of studying a child’s psyche was the diary method or
observation of a child’s development using a particular programme. An example of
such a programme was the calendar of child development published by N. N. Lange
(1892). M.G. Yaroshevsky noted that the systematic recording of observations of a
child’s life became popular in Russia after the German physiologist W. Preyer
published his work “The Soul of the Child” in Russia in 1881 (Yaroshevsky, 1976, p.
277).

Stage II (1901–1922)

The second stage of developmental psychology (1901–1922) was characterised by the


approval of its status as a scientific discipline. It can be noted that at the beginning of
the 20th century, psychologists and teachers in Russia took part in intensive
theoretical, methodological and scientific-organisational activities. The development
of methodological research in child development took a new step, when in 1901 the
first laboratory of experimental educational psychology opened under the leadership
of A.P. Nechaev in St. Petersburg.
It was very difficult for Nechaev to open his laboratory. He faced strong
opposition from Vvedensky, chairman of the St. Petersburg Philosophical Society,
who did not recognize the method of experiment. Vvedensky was one of the
opponents of Nechaev’s (1901) thesis “Modern experimental psychology in its
relation to issues of schooling” and through Vvedensky’s efforts Nechaev’s
dissertation work was rejected by the Council of History and Philology of St.
Petersburg University. Nechaev was forced to withdraw from the university.
One of Nechaev’s associates was A.F. Lazursky, who developed the method of
natural experiment. The essence of this method lies in a combination of the
advantages of observation and laboratory experiments. Lazursky believed that during
the process of natural activities, for example, during a game, the researcher can set
certain conditions which will result in a child behaving in such a way that will allow
researchers to observe characteristic features of that particular child.
Nechaev’s laboratory helped scientists study the characteristics of the following
phenomena: attention, mental abilities of pupils, and basics of the psychological
process of reading. All the results were published in 1901 and 1902 in the book titled
“The observation of children’s interests and the work of their memory from the age of
7 to 16” (Nechaev, 1902).
In 1904 the first pedagogical courses were opened at the University in St.
Petersburg. The main subject of those courses was education and the person as an
object of that education (following Ushinsky’s ideas). Those courses covered a wide
range of questions of child education, such as: pedagogy, anatomy, general
physiology, nervous and mental pathology, the study of defective children, child
hygiene, criminal anthropology, the psychophysiology of sensory organs,
20 Elena Minkova

experimental psychology, child psychology and comparative psychology. There was


also a range of lessons devoted to studying different methods of psychological
experiments: basic statistical methods and experimental method (the correction of
defective speech). A.P. Nechaev, A.F. Lasursky, I.R. Tarchanov, A.A. Krogius, A. L.
Sheglov and others organised practical lessons. And in 1905 the same courses took
place in Moscow with the help of A.N. Bernstein, Z.P. Baltalon, V.E. Ignat’ev and
G.I. Rossolimo.
In 1907 V.M. Bechterev became an initiator of the foundation of two Institutes
– the Pedological and the Psychoneurological. The Pedological Institute set the
following targets: to study children’s behaviour with the help of objective methods of
research and in close connection with the main tasks of education. The
Psychoneurological Institute ensured that future teachers, doctors and lawyers
received psychological training.
In 1908 a Froebel Institute was set up in Kiev; it prepared specialists in child
education. There were also two laboratories in the Institute. In 1910 in St. Petersburg
A.P. Nechaev founded the Experimental Pedagogical Association. This association
studied child psychology using the methods of natural science and also tried to
understand the natural laws of children’s intellectual development. During the second
period several Psychological Congresses took place (five in total), the first in 1906,
the last in 1916.
The main directions in developmental psychology of that period were:

- the psychophysical development of a child. Scientists of that period were


following Sechenov’s idea of the importance of the environment that could have
either positive or negative effects on a person’s development. Games were considered
to play a major role in the development of a child and I.A. Sicorsky, P.F. Lesgaft and
P.F. Kapterev highlighted that fact in their works. They suggested that games were
not just fun for children, but had an important task in helping a young person to learn
how to think. A toy had the first place in the process of playing and had to meet
hygienic requirements.
- the influence of a family on development and the role of a family during the
first year of a child. Lesgaft formulated the following principles of education within a
family: 1) Parents should provide their children with good living conditions (from the
hygienic point of view). 2) Parents had always to remember that a child is a small
person who has the same rights as an adult.
- the role of literature in a child’s life. From Kapterev’s point of view literature
could influence children’s development in the same way as parents’ upbringing.
Children tend to imitate book characters – so it was essential that parents made a good
choice of books.

In the first decade of the 20th century the first programmes devoted to the study
of personality began to develop (A.P. Nechaev, A. S. Virenius, N.E. Rumyantsev,
A.N. Bernstein, T.F. Bogdanov, F.E. Rybakov and many others). One of the most
complete and popular programmes was proposed by the child psychiatrist G.I.
Rossolimo and was called the method of “psychological profiles” (1906).
Rossolimo’s Psychological Profile was a multidimensional programme for studying
personality, which consisted of a number of experimental psychological methods.
Summarising their results, the researcher could obtain an extensive understanding of
the individual characteristics of a particular child. The originality of the method lay in
the compilation of test tasks, and in the way the results were processed. The results of
Developmental psychology in Russia 1862–1936 21

the study were presented in a visual schedule, which enabled analysis of the tested
individual. Rossolimo derived a formula which transformed image data into
arithmetic data. By the mid-twenties the method was used in more than 150
laboratories all over Russia. The “psychological profile” method was widely known
abroad. It was used by O. Lipmann, E. Claparède, G. Schulze, F. Gieze and others.
It should be noted that doctors took an active part in developmental psychology.
This, in particular, can explain the orientation of certain subjects amongst published
works in the first two periods. Subjects included: educational hygiene and mental
health problems in child development.

Figure 2. Changes in the percentages of books according to subject published over the period
1862 to 1936 (Source: The Russian National Library in St Petersburg).

Figure 2 shows quantitative changes in the percentages of psychological works


published in the period between 1862 and 1936. The vertical axis of the graph gives
the percentage of books devoted to four subjects: learning processes hygiene (the
system of methods for keeping mental work highly productive), environmental
impact, abnormalities in mental development, and characteristics of mental processes
and conditions. These categories were chosen based on a criterion of content. The
horizontal axis shows three periods of time: 1862–1900; 1901–1922; 1923–1936. It
should be noted that in the first two periods, doctors took an active part in
developmental psychology. This is represented by the fact that subjects devoted to
22 Elena Minkova

hygiene training and mental disorders in child development prevailed over other
published works in the first and second periods. In the third period, the number of
works on these issues significantly decreased; they were not needed by the “new”
growing communist society where it was believed that all human beings were equal
and genetically the same. This was expressed in the well-known slogan: “We are
children of the revolution”. By contrast, the number of works devoted to the analysis
of environmental influences on the mental development of children grew
dramatically. These changes were linked to a new wave of communist ideas: bringing
up a new person in a new society under different social conditions.

Stage III (1922–1936)

After the social revolution of 1917, the Russian communist party ordered the creation
of a new Marxist and Leninist psychology. Joravsky wrote, that “although numerous
psychological schools freely contended, the Party tended to favor theories that were,
or claimed to be, objective, materialist, determinist” (Joravsky, 1989, p.274). A
radically new approach was developed by K.N. Kornilov, which suggested that every
person was the product of their social environment. Kornilov outlined his views on
the principles that had to be used to build the new Soviet psychology in his report
“Modern psychology and Marxism” at a Psychoneurological Congress in 1923. He
announced that the nature of mental processes is the only true materialist point of
view. In his speech at the Congress, Kornilov expressed sharp criticism of Western
empirical positivist psychology, as being highly subjective, individualistic and not
reflecting true reality. According to Kornilov, empirical psychology was the study of
isolated, unintegrated aspects of the human psyche, such as, for example, “ability”,
“memory”, “attention” and others. He believed Marxist psychology, on the contrary,
aimed to present personal development and its major properties with integrity,
depending on the influence of the social environment. It should be noted that not all
Western psychology was rejected by the leader of Soviet psychology, Kornilov. He
thought it was possible to accept some of the ideas of American behaviourist
psychology, Watson’s doctrine in particular. However, Kornilov thought it necessary
to add into Watson’s concept, social factors besides biological factors that were
affecting human behavior. Kornilov became the head of the Institute of Psychology in
Moscow, and initiated the change of the name of the institute to the Institute of
Reactology. The leading theme of the institute was the “Investigation of the
indigenous psychology of the Moscow proletarians by the method of determining the
rate of reaction” (Petrovsky, 2007, p.22). There is no doubt that the leading theme was
the political agenda of the Bolshevik party. Indeed, there was no difference in the
speed of mental reaction of the proletariats who lived in Moscow, and the proletariats
of any other city. Nevertheless, none of the staff of the Institute dared speak out
against the designated theme. Thus, psychology had to serve the ideological
requirements of the new state.
This became the methodological basis for Marxist and Leninist psychology. It
was thought that the character of a young person was determined by the type of work
s/he was involved in. The industrial factor prevailed over others, making it a
“constant” value, whilst gender and age were considered to be “variables”.
Psychologists believed that in order to understand young people’s behaviour they had
to analyse every aspect of their living conditions.
A period of tough ideological control over the activities of scientists from the
Bolshevik Party began. Responding to the demands of the Party, special attention was
Developmental psychology in Russia 1862–1936 23

paid by psychologists to the influence of the social environment on a child’s life. This
was evidenced by the growing number of studies that analysed the role of the social
situation in a child’s development.
However, it should be noted that it was during the third period in the history of
developmental psychology that the famous psychologists M. J. Basov, P.P. Blonsky
and, of course, L.S. Vygotsky worked and wrote their works. Vygotsky disagreed
with the traditional understanding of development as a form of human adaptation to
the environment. According to Vygotsky’s concept, the environment is the source of
development. The child’s relationship with the environment evolves and changes with
age. This also means that the role of the environment changes during the process of a
child’s development. The driving force of mental development is education, which is
not on the same level as, and should be ahead of development. Vygotsky formulated a
number of laws of mental development in children: the law of metamorphosis in
children’s development, the law of telling the differences in tempo and rhythm in
development during different periods of a child’s life, the law of the development of
higher mental functions and others.
At the turn of the 20th century, Basov, Blonsky and Vygotsky continued
working on the newly emerged science – pedology. According to A.V. Petrovsky,
pedology was based on four main principles:

- the principle of the holistic approach to the study of the child, using data
obtained from various sciences;
- the genetic principle, to include Vygotsky’s proposed idea of the zone of
proximal development;
- the principle of taking into consideration the social context, that is, the living
conditions of the child;
- the principle of making a diagnosis of the level of a child’s development with
the purpose of providing the child and the child’s parents with psychological
assistance (Petrovsky, 2007, p.32).

At that time there was a large number of programmes and methods for studying
child psychology.

Figure 3 compares the numbers of books on developmental psychology of five


types, published in the period from 1862 to 1936. We can see that the number of
books about characteristics of age-related development periods and textbooks on
developmental psychology increased in the second period and continued to rise
steadily until 1936. These figures can be contrasted with the number of books devoted
to the problems of upbringing and education. During the first and second periods it
grew from 5.3% to 7.6% and then dropped sharply to 2.1% in 1936. The number of
books about programmes and methods devoted to the study of the child’s mind
increased to 4.0% by 1901 and increased again to 12.0% by 1936. As far as the
number of books about the analysis of mental processes, conditions and other
problems is concerned, it rose rapidly from 1862 to 1900, then continued to grow but
more slowly in the third period. The growth of the number of books about
programmes and methods can be explained by the ideological pressure of the
communist party.
24 Elena Minkova

Figure 3. Percentages of books on developmental psychology, grouped according to the types of


problems raised in them, published in the period 1862 to 1936 (Source: The Russian National
Library in St Petersburg)

In 1929 The First Pedological Congress took place where a presentation was
made by the chief methodologist in pedology, A.B. Zalkind. From the rostrum of the
congress, he stated that the environment is “a powerful, decisive factor that creates the
main set of mechanisms that define all the basic prospects of future human existence”.
He harshly criticized the activities of pedologists who used Binet and Simon’s testing
principles to diagnose levels of mental development. Rossolimo’s method was also
criticised by Zalkind as a method that does not account for the influence of the
environment on a child’s development.
Zalkind encouraged scientists to start building a class pedology, and to fight
against dissent in science. Of course that approach forced scientists to observe a rigid
political correctness in their works. That led to pedology evolving into a servant of
state policy, which meant there was no freedom of speech in science and the search
for the truth was prohibited. In our view, 1929 was the turning point for pedology: the
remaining 7 years were years of fruitless attempts by the majority of scientists to
prove government ideologies in science both theoretically and practically. Without
doubt, the majority of the psychologists at that time, including Blonsky, Basov and
Vygotsky, deeply believed in the idea of ‘the new person’ who would build a
Communist society. After 1929 a hounding began of scientists whose ideas did not
Developmental psychology in Russia 1862–1936 25

conform to the political setting of the Bolshevik Party. T.D. Martsinkovskaja believes
that from 1929 to 1931 “a period of intensive development of psychology began”
(Martsinkovskaja, 2004, p.245) and the period between1932–1936 was best
characterised as the time of the strongest attacks on pedology. It is difficult to agree
with this opinion for a number of reasons. First, the attacks on the works of leading
pedologists, M.Y. Basov in particular, began earlier, in 1928. Second, in our view, the
“methodological bloom” in pedology is associated with the names of A.P. Nechaev
(who opened the first laboratory in 1901), A.F. Lazursky (who developed a method of
natural experiment in 1911) and G.I. Rossolimo (who developed the psychological
profile method in 1909).
Between 1929 and 1931 M. J. Basov’s brilliant work “Fundamentals of
pedology” was subject to the most severe criticism for its abstract-formal approach to
the study of the mind of the child. It should be noted that Basov was the first to
underline the importance of the person who played an active part in building the
environment. This idea was later developed further by Vygotsky. The part of Basov’s
work devoted to the development of creative abilities in children was accused of being
politically incorrect only because Basov dared to quote the views of “bourgeois
psychologist” William Stern. Basov was forced to go to work in the machine-tool
factory as an ordinary worker, where he injured his hands, resulting in blood
infection, and died in 1931. On his deathbed Basov asked his wife that his daughter
would be brought up as a true communist, following communist ideas. In 1934, after a
serious illness Vygotsky’s life was also cut short.
Pedology as a science was gradually nearing its crisis, not only because of
ideological pressure from the Bolshevik Party, or drifting further away from its
leading experts (Basov, Vygotsky, Lazursky, Rossolimo). A major contributor was
also the fact that the work of pedologists in schools had significant deficiencies. A lot
of pedologists had little or inadequate education, as a result of which their research
was of poor quality. At the same time, research findings in general were not utilised or
implemented in educational processes. For example, pedologists only stated reasons
for poor progress in children, thus completely ignoring the role played by the quality
of teaching in the educational process. In the 1930s the number of schools where a
differentiated approach to learning had no methodological support considerably
increased in some of the largest cities in Russia.
In 1936, a new regulation was announced by the All-Russian Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Bolsheviks called “Pedological distortions in the system of
National Committees of Education”. According to the new regulation, pedology was
declared to be Marxist reactionary bourgeois science. Repressions began amongst
psychologists. Pedologist A.P. Nechaev was exiled to Kazakhstan. It became
dangerous for pedologists to work and live in Russia. As a result, work on
developmental psychology ceased for many years. Only in 1948, works on child
psychology by B.G. Ananjev and A.N. Leontjev started to appear. A lot later, in 1965,
N.F. Dobrinin wrote a textbook on developmental psychology.

Summary

To summarise, in Russia the process of the formation of developmental psychology as


an independent branch of psychological knowledge can be divided into three periods.
In the initial period, from 1862 to 1900, scientists conducted the study of the mental
development of a child based on the method of observation. A key methodological
problem of this period was that of determining the main factors of mental
26 Elena Minkova

development in children. The second period, from 1901 to 1922, was an experimental
period in developmental psychology. A great number of problems on child
development were raised and studied in the psychological laboratories newly opened
by A.P. Nechaev. The third period, from 1923 to 1936, can be described as the period
of hard ideological pressure on the work of psychologists from the Bolshevik party.
During this period a number of major methodological problems in developmental
psychology were analysed by such brilliant psychologists as M. J. Basov, P.P.
Blonsky and L.S. Vygotsky. However, from 1929, a process of stagnation or
methodological crisis in developmental psychology began, closely linked with the
demand from the Bolshevik party to justify and prove both theoretically and
practically that the environment is the main and only factor in the development of the
psyche.

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28 Elena Minkova

Address for correspondence

Professor Elena Minkova


Volzhsky State Engineering and Pedagogical University
9 Cheluskintsev Street
Nizhny Novgorod
Russia 603004.
Email: helensea59@mail.ru
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