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Russian Academy of Sciences to restore part of book collection destroyed by library fire

February 05, 2015, 20:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The fire in the building of the INION library destroyed a huge collection of books, including some rare publications of the previous centuries
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© Emergencies Ministry/Yury Lomonosov

MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Situation after last weekend’s fire that destroyed the huge collection of books at the main library of the Institute for Information on Social Sciences (INION) has consolidated the community of Russian researchers, the President of the Russian Academy of Science, Dr. Vladimir Fortov told TASS on Thursday.

"We should watch the situation with every concrete material because if one or another book is destroyed, the title may actually exist in other editions," he said. "For instance, a book was published by Axel Springer SE. If so, we can simply ask the publishing house to provide a copy of it and they will gladly do it."

"International assistance in this situation is quite broad," Dr. Fortov said. "If you take a look at these things, we can state that the scientists have consolidated, on the one hand, but on the other, several articles appeared in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal right after the fire, which showed understanding, although I wouldn’t call them positive because it’s not an occasion you could write something encouraging on."

"But it was like, well, a disaster has happened and let’s help them," he said.

The INION main library’s depository had 14.2 million copies, including some rare publications of the 16th to the early 20th century, as well as collections of documents of the UN, the League of Nation, the US Congress reports beginning with 1789 and the British parliament as of 1803.

Also, the library had more than 450,000 monographs.

Most of the rare books and manuscripts were confiscated from Germany after World War II by way of reparations.

The fire in the building of the library located a few steps away from the highly busy Profsoyuznaya metro station occurred on January 30. The flames engulfed an area of slightly over 2,000 square meters and the works to eliminate the blaze continued through to February 2.

"The main task today is to assure uninterrupted operations of this institute because it is an inalienable element of a system interconnecting other institutes, which deal with philosophy, history and all other branches of humanitarian knowledge, and if INION stops work then all of them with be knocked out," Dr. Fortov said.

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