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The tragedy of INION's archive continues

April 7, 2015 in Moscow, police detained two suspects who were trying to sell books which had disappeared from the library of the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION). The arrests took place shortly after a serious fire at the archive, according to the chief of the Office of Information and Public Relations Directorate of the MOI of Russia, Andrei Galiakberov.

According to police, publications were taken from the building disguised as ‘waste’ by unidentified persons during the restoration work. It is pressumed that thieves broke into the vault by pretending to be volunteer helpers. Among the books taken were particularly valuable editions published between 1848 and 1906, including "Notes of the Fatherland" and "Contemporary". Those arrested had in their possession 12 books with the stamp of the Fundamental Library of Social Sciences Academy of Sciences. This is not the first occurrence of criminals trying to sell stolen books from the INION archive.

The fire in the library began on the evening of 30 January and it took more than a day to control and then extinguish. Experts estimate more than 15% of the collection will be impossible to recover.

The fire took 5.42 million copies of publications — about 30% of the entire collection. The causes of the fire have not yet been established, but it is believed that the library building did not meet modern fire safety requirements.

It is suspected that a short circuit caused the fire. INION made an appeal for volunteers to save the books on the 24 February 2015.

According to the director of the Russian State Library Alexander Vistula, restoration of the affected books will take decades. "We have lost another library and an enormous amount of books. Many of those saved will not be available for many years to come."

General Director of OSG Records Management Russia, Zalina Kanametova commented:

"Reducing the risk of fire is a responsibility that every organisation and business must take seriously. Experts know the risks of fire. Acces must be given firstly to the fire service, then the police, and finally, only trusted employees of the organisation who can rescue and dry-out documents. At OSG we invest in the best integrated security systems. We comply with all safety and quality standards, and invest in ‘A’ class warehousing and new technologies."

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