Πέμπτη, Φεβρουαρίου 12, 2015
A major fire that threatened to consume one of Russia’s most important libraries was finally put out late Saturday, but scholars are only beginning to assess the damage from the flames, smoke and water.
The fire broke out at the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences in Moscow on Friday evening and engulfed more than 21,500 square feet of the Soviet-era building. Vladimir Fortov, president of Russia’s Academy of Sciences said on Saturday that the scene “reminds one of Chernobyl” and estimated that 15 percent of the 10 million volumes and materials in the library, which he compared to the Library of Congress, had been damaged.
Alexander Visly, director of the Russian State Library, told the Tass news agency that most of the rarest volumes and manuscripts at the damaged library, primarily about economics, philosophy and Marxism-Leninism had been brought to the Soviet Union from Germany as war trophies.
The institute’s director, Yuri Pivovarov, said that it would be possible to find copies abroad of most of the burned library items, such as materials from the United Nations, but that the institute had been “a research conveyor, and this conveyor has stopped.”
Mr. Fortov dismissed the possibility of arson, which was being discussed in on some social media sties because of the institute’s prime plot of land. Distraught Russian intellectuals spoke of the fire as deeply symbolic.
Scholars said they planned to appeal to President Vladimir V. Putin for help in rebuilding the library and the research institute that housed it.