*Update, 3 February, 11:05 a.m.: This article has been updated to clarify RAS President Vladimir Fortov’s assessment of the damage:
“About 20% of the unique scientific works that were kept in hard copies have been lost forever,” says RAS President Vladimir Fortov. Privately, library staff told ScienceInsider that they believe the damage is much more serious. Documents that escaped burning have probably been damaged by water. Firefighters stated that they did all they could to protect the documents from water.
“It is a huge loss for science in Russia. It is one of the biggest depositories of its kind in the world, probably as important for Russian science as the Library of Congress is for Americans. It has documents which it is impossible to find anywhere else,” Pivovarov says.
The fire may also affect some European humanities research. The library building hosted the German Historical Institute Moscow. “The destruction of the institute brings serious loss to German-Russian scientific relationship and links,” Gleb Albert, a German historian from the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told the Russian online newspaper Gazeta.ru.
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via Fire devastates Russian Academy library | Science/AAAS | News.