Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov
Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov was born on September 21, 1941. After leaving school in
1957 he entered the Faculty of Law of the Moscow State University. He dreamt of being a
lawyer, but self-actualization was hardly possible in this profession under the Soviet
regime, and thus in 1959 he transferred to the Philological Faculty of the Moscow State
University, Department of Romance and German Philology. Being the fifth year student in
1964 he entered the evening department of the MSU Biological Faculty (specialty —
physiology of higher nervous activity) and for a certain period he was studying at the
daytime and evening departments simultaneously. In 1964 he graduated from the Philological
Faculty and was assigned to work as an interpreter in Iraq, Baghdad, where he staid for a
year. Back in Moscow he worked as a teacher of the English language at the University and
continued his studying at the Biological Faculty. He took an external degree in 1967.
In 1966 Luchkov started working in one of the exploratory laboratories of the Research
and Development Institute of Educational Psychology under the Academy of Educational
Sciences of the USSR.
This was when the persecution of the so-called dissidents — those who criticized
the then order in the society — took place. In 1967 the writers Sinyavsky and
Daniel were prosecuted. Very few were as valiant as to protest against this unjust
procedure and Luchkov was one of the few. He had foreign friends — a thing strictly
forbidden in that time. Vyacheslav Luchkov was a person of great internal freedom and
independence — quite some courage under the existing conditions often requiring
sacrifice. In 1968 Luchkov was excluded from the Young Communist League and from the
Institute due to his political convictions. Afterwards he has been trying to enter the
postgraduate course of the Institute for several years, but every time he was met with
In 1973 he finally became a postgraduate of the just founded Institute of Psychology
under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. A thesis titled “System Study of the Inner
Composition and Interdisciplinary Relations of Human Engineering” was written under the
supervision of the Institute Director Professor B.F. Lomov.
After completing the postgraduate course in 1977 he accepted the offer of the Dean of
the Faculty Professor A.N. Leontiev and became the scientific editor of the magazine
launched the same year at the Psychological Faculty “Moscow University Bulletin, Series
14, Psychology”. Vyacheslav Luchkov was the first editor of the faculty magazine and has
remained the same for 10 years.
It was decided right from the outset that, firstly, the magazine was to be not merely a
periodic collection of articles by faculty employees and postgraduates, but rather a real
magazine with subject columns, scientific news, discussion department, jubilee and archive
materials publications, etc. Secondly, to make the magazine well read and interesting it
required good editing. Thirdly, the objective of the magazine was not mere description of
the faculty life but also the means of connection of the faculty activity with the life of
the whole scientific community and the country.
These tasks were performed owing to deep professionalism, erudition and enthusiasm of
Vyacheslav Luchkov. The magazine published fundamental articles dealing with the acute
problems of psychological science, new columns were introduced and continuously updated:
“From Psychology History”, “Foreign Psychology”, “Psychology News”,
“Psychology to Practice” and others. This is what made the magazine informative and
interesting. This immediately affected the growth of magazine circulation. It built up
especially fast after the subscription limit was removed — 21 a year on average
(from 1983 to 1987 the circulation has totally grew by 83%). Among the Bulletins of the
Moscow University the psychological bulletin was far ahead of those issued by other
Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov was a talented and widely and diversely educated person.
He possessed deep knowledge, wide erudition; he truly loved and perfectly mastered the
Russian language. He was the editor of best quality, the artist widely acknowledged.
Virtually all the leading psychologists wanted him to editor their books. He also knew two
foreign languages, English and French, and translated interesting psychological works.
Along with the magazine business Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov was occupied with
scientific work as well. He was the author of distinguished articles devoted to
complicated and disputable problems of psychology, the articles that often caused acute
discussions. A number of articles were written together with the leading Russian
psychologists (A.N. Leontiev, B.F. Lomov, M.S. Pevzner, etc.) In 1986 in cooperation with
the then Dean of the Psychological Faculty of the MSU E.A. Klimov a program article was
written dealing with the prospects of the faculty life with many statements being still
topical for the faculty today.
For the period from 1990 till 1995 Vyacheslav Viktorovich has been working in the
United States — at the Russian-American Center — in the position of the Vice
President, Director Psychology Project. The Center was headed by Dulce W. Murphy.
The aim of Psychology Project, as Luchkov saw it, “was to assist in: development of
Russian Psychology, growth of its professional level and applied potential, efficient
integration into social life; improvement of communication system of Soviet and American
psychologists; theoretical development of scientific psychology. The opportunities and
forms of these ideas implementation depend on the involvement of both Soviet and American
sides in the corresponding work… One of the major psychological demands revealed in the
Soviet Union by the common opinion, was the necessity to restore the lost mental,
environmental, social and economical health of the country. To solve the related tasks the
Soviet Union was inevitably in demand of extensive use of the West experience to
compensate for the dozens and dozens of years when this topic had been ignored and no
professional relations and information exchange had been possible with the Western
countries. The aim of Psychology Project was to make all the arrangements for the
efficient interaction of American and Soviet experts, to organize and structure the
process of transfer and assimilation of the practically valuable psychological information
in the Soviet Union. Skillful use of such information would significantly smoothen painful
Perestroika processes, make the shift to socially and mentally health society easier”.
The plans of the Psychology Project were the following (sub-projects): monographic
research “Psychology and Perestroika”; development of English-Russian/Russian-English
encyclopedic dictionary of psychological terms; several series of reviews of applied and
theoretical psychology in the Soviet Union; psychological magazine “Life and
Psychology” mainly aimed at giving the Soviet reader the idea of how the psychological
(or even the human factor) knowledge and information is created and operated in the
Western world, in the economic and social structures.
The magazine “Life and Psychology” was supposed to tell about the aims of
psychologists in the Western countries, the psychology as profession, psychologists’
partners and the way of cooperation with them, the provision and assessment of their work
at the level of society and culture in general. Thus the magazine was to be focused on all
the professionals whose work requires assimilation of information on human factor, as well
as the demands of any Soviet reader interested in searching the ways of improvement of
social life quality.
Moreover it was planned to coordinate the program implemented by the Center and
implying invitation of Soviet clinical psychologists and the representatives of other
‘assisting’ professions to the one-year probation at the Department of Mental Health
under Berkley City Administration.
In summer 1993 the Directorate for the preparation of «The Russian-American Assistance
Program for Psychology in Russia» was established by V.V. Luchkov. One the main tasks of
the Directorate was “to organize systematic conference meetings of Russian and American
psychologists”. These conferences were to be highlighted in the press: the Assistance
Program shall use the internal potential of propaganda and popularization of psychology to
the most. A wide range of support groups of initiatives in Russian psychology development
shall be formed… Information support of psychology is necessary: books, magazines,
reference, bibliographical and information and search systems; data bases; systems of
professional notification and communication organize a campaign in the USA to collect
psychological and “near about” literature for Russia (for the libraries of
psychological faculties) turn to the American universities, professional psychological
societies, directly to the American psychologists, to the publishers of American
psychological magazines, to the management of publishing houses specialized in
psychological literature, asking for the free copy of their editions for the needs of
Russian psychology ... Moreover at the meetings of the Directorate the issue has been
discussed of the possibility of creating a ‘Russian Psychology Support Club’ under the
Russian-American Center (San-Francisco), of taking actions to support psychology in
As we can clearly see from the above said all the energy, intellectual potential and
interests of Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov have been focused on the development of
psychology in this country.
Vyacheslav Luchkov has started implementing the plan of information support of the
Psychological Faculty; he has brought a great number of modern books and magazines
recently issued in America. They were to become the first items of the library which after
Vyacheslav Luchkov’s death on October 30, 1997, was renamed into the Fund in the name of
V.V. Luchkov, as it had been suggested by Dulce Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the
Russian-American Center. Today Dulce Murphy is continuing the work of Vyacheslav Luchkov
providing great help in supplying new books and magazines to the Fund.
Vyacheslav Viktorovich Luchkov was the real Russian intellectual, member of Russian
intelligentsia. In one of his latest letters he said that psychological science in this
country needs help and that he would be happy to serve the science and Russia. This was
exactly the task he was trying his best to fulfill.