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Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) is the most celebrated Russian psychologist, both in Russia and worldwide. His popularity today is so immense that some authors refer to a “Vygotsky boom” or, somewhat skeptically, a “Vygotsky cult.” Yet, at the same time, Vygotsky is the most controversial, mysterious, and self-contradictory of Russian psychologists. Thousands of laudatory scholarly papers uniformly glorifying Vygotsky as the founder of virtually any idea in psychology and education are almost outbalanced by a fairly consistent critique of the multitude of conflicting and contradictory “versions of Vygotsky” featured in this literature, Western and Russian alike. Most often, this critical Vygotskian literature identifies Western interpretations of Vygotsky as the key to the problem of “understanding Vygotsky” (see also van der Veer & Valsiner, 1991) and calls ...

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