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A Moscow library containing rare UN documents, ancient Slavic texts, and 14 million books is on fire

By Jenni Avins
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The Moscow library known as INION—the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences—went up in flames on the evening of Jan. 29.

Interfax reports that the fire, which started on the building’s third floor and spread to 2,000 square meters, is now contained. But damage already appears to be extensive, with at least part of the roof having fallen in.

According to RIA, the library was founded in 1918, and is home to more than 14 million books, including rare texts in ancient Slavic languages, as well as documents from the League of Nations, UNESCO, and parliamentary reports from countries including the US dating back as far as 1789 (links in Russian). One of Russia’s most important libraries, INION maintains a book exchange with 874 partners in 69 countries.

Injuries have been reported, but not yet confirmed (link in Russian).

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