Romas Kalanta collection
The collection is an album of 24 photographs made by a KGB officer (or secret informer) about the youth protests after the self-immolation of Romas Kalanta in Kaunas in the spring of 1972. The album shows the attitude of the KGB towards the anti-Soviet event and youth protests. On the other hand, it also shows the attitude of the younger generation of Lithuanians towards the regime.
01109 Vilnius Kražių gatvė 5 , Lithuania
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Name of collection
- Romas Kalanta collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection was created by the KGB during the mass protests by youths in Kaunas in 1972. The protests started on 15 May 1972, when a young worker in Kaunas set fire to himself. After the Soviet administration buried Kalanta secretly, massive youth protests started. During the protests, anti-Soviet poems and leaflets dedicated to Kalanta were disseminated. The KGB followed the protests closely, secretly taking the photographs presented in the album. It not only shows the event, but also how the KGB saw and interpreted it: every photograph has a short description.
Another important point is how the collection was made, ‘travelled’, and finally appeared in the Lithuanian Institute of History. The album was taken from his office in the early 1990s by a KGB investigator, and he gave it to a researcher after keeping it for a long time in his home. This circumstance allows us to make the assumption that there are many KGB files which are still kept in the personal papers of ex-KGB officers.
The album of the collection is included in the Courage project exhibition.
Description of content
The collection is an album of 24 photographs made by a KGB officer (or secret informer) of the youth protests after the self-immolation by Romas Kalanta in Kaunas in the spring of 1972. One by one, these photographs and their descriptions gave KGB investigators a general picture of the event. These are the descriptions of the photographs:
Cover of 'Photograph Album of Group Acts that were Deemed Harsh Violations of Public Order in Kaunas on 18 May 1972'
After the funeral, people who had gathered turned from Panerių Street into the city park where Romas Kalanta had burned himself to death.
A view of the crowd in the city park.
Flowers were laid on the spot of Kalanta's self-immolation.
A. Kačenauskas lays some flowers.
V. Levickaitė forms the word 'Lietuva' [Lithuania] from flowers.
Part of the front row around the spot where Kalanta set himself alight. In the foreground are R. Truškauskas, V. Misevičius, and others.
To the left of the tree, A. Kačinskas asks others to form a ring around the site of self-immolation.
R. Baužys reads a piece of paper with the reasons for Kalanta’s suicide. Next to him are V. Kaladė, A. Kačinskas, R. Trušauskas, R. Dzilikas, V. Mickevičius, and others.
In the first row of the crowd, from left to right: A. Kačenauskas, V. Misevičius, A. Kačinskas (with his hand raised), A. Laurinavičius, R. Kanys, V. Mickevičius, R. Baužys (in dark glasses), R. Kraponytė, and others.
In the first row of the crowd, from left to right: V. Misevičius, R. Kanys, R. Trušauskas, A. Kačinskas, and others.
From left to right: A. Kačinskas, A. Šemeta, I. Kulikauskas, K. Nechmedaitė, K. Pilipavičius, V. Kožemekaitis, R.Valeta, R. Urmanavičius, R. Jokubauskas, R. Grigas and others form a circle around the site of Kalanta’s suicide.
People in the first rows sat on the ground to let others behind them see the site of the self-immolation.
The cries of the active violators of public order were supported by others in the crowd with calls of 'Hooray' and applause.
In the city park, further away from the site of the self-immolation. Most people gathered there out of curiosity.
The crowd in the city park.
Freedom Avenue near the city park was full of people.
When the militsiya demanded that public order be restored, some of those who had gathered left.
Many assembled on Freedom Avenue further away from the city park.
The militsiya tried to prevent crowds from gathering.
The active participants in the group actions went down along Freedom Avenue from the city park towards the offices of internal affairs.
In the first row: V. Pocius, R. Truškauskas, V. Kaldė (with raised hand), V. Urbonavičiūtė, V. Kasiulevičius, and others.
The right flank of the front row.
Teenagers and girls followed the front row.
Only the first rows were actively rowdy. Many simply walked along in silence.
The group actions were accompanied by the throwing of benches and rubbish bins. The windows of the Tulpė cafe and bookstore were broken.
- photos: 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Vilnius, 40 Gediminas avenue, 01110 Lithuania
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
- No publications
Author(s) of this page
Katilius, Algimantas, interview by Grybkauskas, Saulius, August 29, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection