The Lithuanian Consulate in Petrograd, 1921–1923

  • Sandra Grigaravičiūtė
Keywords: Lithuania, consulate, Vilnius, Soviet Russia, Petrograd, Andrius Dubinskis, Jonas Matukas, Stasys Zaskevičius, Vaclavas Čepanis, authorised representative


The Lithuanian Consulate in Petrograd in the years 1921–1923 has been studied in Lithuanian historiography by focusing on the establishment of Lithuanian consulates in Soviet Russia in 1921 and the appointment and activities of Stasys Zaskevičius as Consul ad Interim from the second half of 1922 through 1923. The period when the consulate was led by Jonas Matukas, his appointment and activities, the origins of the consulate and its operation in 1922 have not been investigated at all. Therefore, based on the sources and historiography, the aim of the research is to reconstruct the process of the establishment and functioning of the Lithuanian Consulate in Petrograd from 1921 to 1923 with a special focus on the specificities of the living conditions and activities. The research is based on unpublished sources from the Political Archive of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Collection of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs kept at the Lithuanian Central State Archives, the Manuscripts Department of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences and published sources, namely documents, periodicals and studies by Lithuanian (Tomas Balkelis, Milena Tamošiūnienė) and foreign (Aleksander Wasilewski, Winfried Baumgart) authors. Methods of qualitative analysis and synthesis (the new material of the sources was supplemented with the information circulating in historiography), the comparative method (the information published in the Lithuanian press was compared with the information found in the Lithuanian Central State Archives), and the descriptive method were applied in this research. To process the primary sources in Lithuanian, German, and Russian languages, the logical-analytical method was applied (the notional content and information analysis was conducted). The research led to the conclusion that due to the correspondence bureaus established in Petrograd during World War I, the city became the centre of communication between Lithuanians on both sides of the front. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed and Germany recognised Lithuania’s independence, Petrograd became the centre of repatriation of Lithuanian deportees and refugees. The Lithuanian consular institution established in Petrograd in 1921 employed over thirty members of staff who helped the deportees and refugees of Lithuanian nationality and citizenship to return to the restored state of Lithuania and provided assistance in the form of food and clothes through the Lithuanian Red Cross until 30 September 1923.