Matulaitis (1866-1956) graduated from Moscow University in 1891, and opened a medical practice in Lithuania. While at the university, he began to write articles for the underground Lithuanian newspaper Varpas (The Bell). In 1896, he joined the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party. He was exiled by the Imperial Russian government for his political activities. From 1917 he was a member of the Lithuanian Communist Party. Matulaitis was persecuted in the Republic of Lithuania, and in 1925 he emigrated to the Soviet Union. (He was deported to Kazakhstan in 1937.) While he was still a student, he started to research Lithuanian history. He returned to Soviet Lithuania in 1945, and until 1950 he was a senior researcher at the Lithuanian Institute of History.
In 1950, at a session of the Academy of Sciences, Matulaitis openly criticised the work of the Academy and the Institute of History for ignoring Lithuanian history. Later, he wrote several letters to the Presidium of the Academy explaining his reasons. His case illustrates the situation of scholars and historians in the late Stalinist period. The historian was obliged to work under heavy ideological pressure. Some scholars conformed to the political and ideological realities, while others, a minority, did not, and even openly protested. After the speech mentioned above, he was accused of bourgeois nationalism, and dismissed from his job.
Vilnius , Lithuania
- Stebuliškės, Lithuania
- Sirutavičius, Vladas