Olga was born in 1948 in Blagoveshensk, Russia.
Her mother, Nadezhda Zakharovna,
was a psychology teacher at pedagogical university,
and her father, Michail Ivanonich,
served in the military. It was a common practice in the USSR
people and their families to move from place to place following orders of
assignments. Michail Diachenko’s family was no exception and moved to Leningrad and then
Olga was brought up by her grandmother,
Varvara Emelyanovna Michailovskaya, who, having
a gymnasium school education, got Olga acquainted with classic works of Russian
and foreign authors. As a preschooler,
Olga already knew poems of Lermontov, Pushkin, Tolstoy and others. Varvara
Emelyanovna also told many things about life of different social classes in pre-revolutionary
thus forming in the child’s mind a complex image of social interactions. Olga’s
grandmother had a critical thinking. She had no regard for authorities and
could see a person apart from his or her social position. Gymnasium school
education governed Varvara Emelyanovna’s everyday life. She was careful about
housework and herself: not only had she kept house clean and tidy and composed
healthy diet, but also practiced good hygiene. Varvara Emelyanovna kept her
looks even in old age – at 82 she cared for her manicure and was attentive to
her clothing. These qualities have passed on to Olga.
Olga was lively and inquisitive girl. Nadezhda
Zakharovna was very worried about Olga having bad appetite and not being plump.
However, agility and bright mind earned Olga leadership in the eyes of both
school teachers and peers from the first days of school. During the school
years Olga was an A-student and
showed independence in her thoughts and actions. This was especially vivid at
Having graduated with excellence from musical
school, Olga went to a school to work as a music assistant. After graduation
from Moscow’s high school # 620, she entered
newly established faculty of psychology at Moscow State
University. Meetings with
preschool children have influenced her choice of scientific tutor. She began to
write term papers under the scientific tutorship of L.A. Venger, whom had
invited Olga to work as a junior researcher at his laboratory right after her
graduation from the university.
Olga was well accepted in the laboratory, where
everyone had softly called her Olechka
or Olyenka. She had never regretted choosing
the laboratory she eventually headed where she had worked till her last days,
having had grown from junior researcher to doctor of psychology and a
corresponding member of Russian
Academy of Education.
While in school, Olga got friends with Tatiana
Veraksa, who later became a renowned artist. Olga was an often guest in
Tatiana’s home, particularly because they lived practically next door to each
other. It was there where Olga met her future husband, Tatiana’s brother
Nikolay. After they got married they had a son Alexey, who later had chosen to
be a biologist.
At first, Nikolay Evgenyevich had worked at the
Institute of preschool education of USSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, and
after that at department of psychology of Lenin Moscow City Pedagogical
Institute. In 1981 he was assigned to Cuba
and went there with Olga and
little Alexey. They lived in Santiago
De Cuba where Nikolay had worked as a scientific
consultant at a department of psychology of local university. To Olga this trip to Cuba
was also unforgettable. At that time, there was close cooperation between the
Soviet Union and Cuba,
and Cuban specialists were trained at Venger’s laboratory. Naturally, all of
those Cuban specialists knew Olga as a talented scientist and treated her with
respect and sincere affection. Consequently, when Olga arrived to Cuba
as a wife
of Nikolay Evgenievich, her Cuban colleagues were eager to offer her active
participation in their work. For example, she had frequently traveled from Santiago De Cuba
to conduct classes and lectures for Cuban specialists. This was an outstanding
practice for a soviet specialist working in Cuba.
While in Cuba, Olga always kept in touch
with her laboratory and received great many letters from all the laboratory
members and colleagues, especially from L.A. Venger.
By her return to Moscow,
Olga gave birth to her second son
Alexander, who later followed his parent’s steps and became a psychologist.
Olga led active creative and scientific life.
She was a jovial, friendly person, was in correspondence with many people,
frequently went to international conferences and invited foreign colleagues to
In 1975, under scientific advisory of L.A.
Venger, Olga defended Ph.D. thesis “The use of schematic image in preschool
age”. In 1990 she successfully defended her doctoral thesis “Development of
imagination in preschool age. In 1992 Olga was chosen a corresponding member of