The Institute for Scientific Information on Social Sciences in south-west Moscow went up in flames late Friday. The emergency situations ministry said Saturday that more than 200 firefighters have been trying to extinguish the blaze ever since.
Yuri Pivovarov, the director of the institute which holds 10 million documents and texts, 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 didn't seem to be affected.
Pivovarov says only a fraction of the collection has been digitalized. It wasn't immediately clear how the blaze started.