May 25, 2022

Video: A Fire at One of Russia’s Largest Academic Libraries Causes Extensive Damage

UPDATE February 1, 2015 From The NY Times:

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. (via NY Times)

UPDATE: Jan 31, 2015 Over One Million Documents Damaged in Fire (via Channel News Asia)

“It’s a major loss for science. This is the largest collection of its kind in the world, probably equivalent to the (United States) Library of Congress,” Vladimir Fortov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences was quoted as saying by Russia press agencies.

From Sputnik One:

The library of the Academic Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION) in Moscow, a one-of-a-kind treasure trove of historical documents and millions of books, caught fire on Friday night.


Some 2,000 square meters were engulfed in flames, causing the roof to fall in. The cause of the fire could have been a short circuit, the ministry says.

From The Blaze/AP:

Yuri Pivovarov, the director of the institute, described the fire as a disaster. He said in remarks on Russian television the extent of the damage was still unclear but the main storage which contained rare medieval Slavic texts did not seem to have been affected.

From Russia Today:

According to preliminary data, the cause of the fire could be a malfunction of the electrical system, a law-enforcement source told RIA Novosti news agency. “A short circuit in the electrical system is currently being regarded as a primary lead,” he said Saturday.


With 49,000 readers and 330 employees, INION is the largest research center in Russia in the fields of social sciences and humanities. Its collection consists of 14.2 million texts in both ancient and modern European and Asian languages, including rare 400-year-old editions. What’s more, it has one of the biggest collections of books in Slavic languages in the country.

Raw Video From NBC News

Raw Video via Sputnik One

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.