Dhimitër Pasko (Pogradec, 13 September 1907; Tirana, 4 May 1967) was an economist, translator, literary critic and author of short fiction. Together with Ernest Koliqi, was the founder of modern Albanian prose where he is best known by the stage name of Mitrush Kuteli.
Dhimitër was born the 13 September 1907, a Pogradec. His father was a tailor who had lived in Romania for 24 years, working as a bricklayer and painter and had befriended some of the activists of the Albanian Rilindja, such as Dervish Hima, Mihal Grameno, Menduh Bey Zavalani, Telemak Germainji.
After completing primary school in Pogradec in the 1919, after two years he was able to enroll in the Commercial Institute of Thessaloniki thanks to a scholarship. Here he also founded a company of Albanian students, called "Kostandin Kristoforidhi".
In the 1928 he went to Bucharest, where he studied at the Academy of Economic Sciences and worked as an accountant. At the same time, he attended literary and folklore courses at other faculties and studied the basics of languages in Greek, Latin, French, Romanian and Italian.
From the 1928 to the 1933 he directed the newspaper Shqipëria and King published in Constance. He personally edited the column of Literary Notes.
He graduated in 1931 and in February of the 1934 achieved the PhD in Banking and Monetary Sciences, and then began his career as a senior official at the Romanian Ministry of Finance, to become Director of the National Bank of Bucharest.
During the Second World War, it was mobilized and sent to the front towards Stalingrad. He learned from the experience to get closer to the local people and to deepen their knowledge of the Russian language and Ukrainian literature.
He returned to Pogradec when his mother died and found himself involved in the capitulation of Italy to the National Bank of Albania. The Gestapo opened a black file in its name, as Kuteli refused to support the German request to issue new money to finance its own army in Albanian land.
The 15 February 1944, together with Vedat Kokona, Nexhat Haki e Sterjo Spasse, founded the monthly publication Revista letrare.
In November they called him to Berat, where he received the post of clerk at the Ministry of Finance of the democratic government.
He was one of the founding members of the 'League of Writers', member of its first Council and of the Management Committee of the magazine Bota and Re.
He did not fail to distinguish himself economically again, as he implemented some of the most important post-war operations, such as the printing of new currency and the issuance of currency checks to finance Albania's first financial needs. Pasko resigned in August of 1946, when he refused to accept the exchange rate set by the Albanian state between the lek and the Yugoslav dinar.
The 16 May 1947 was arrested and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment as "enemy of the people" and for "agitation and propaganda". After serving his sentence in the Vloçisht camp in Maliq, he was granted a pardon and was released in May 1949.
He decided to leave the business in the economic field and to devote himself to the literary one, in particular writing short fiction for boys and working as a translator for "Zëri i Popullit", 'La Voce del Popolo' up to 1953. Then he moved to the publishing house Naim Frasheri, where he will remain until 1967, the year of his death.
Kuteli, together with Ernest Koliqi, is considered the co-founder of modern Albanian prose and among the initiators of literary criticism with the systematic heading Literary Notes. He is even the first Albanian author to publish books on literary criticism. From the autobiographical texts that he left behind, it is clear that Kuteli produced the most elementary prose, poetry and criticism texts before going to prison, starting with the 1927-1928 and ending in 1947. Post-prison literary activity can be summed up in the field of literary translation.
On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, the 2007 has been declared "Year of Mitrush Kuteli" by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ylli Pango.