The mystery of the terrible fire at the hotel “Russia”: arson or terrorist attack

The Central channel has just finished showing the new series “the Hotel “Russia”. As expected, the authors display “Saga” the climax made her final series, which shows the terrible fire of the Soviet superotel ‘ incident in February 1977. The correspondent of “MK” at the time dealt with this disaster, met with the participants of those tragic events, with professional builders and architects who know many of the secrets of “Russia”.

Photo: Panther.

Today I would like, without delving into details of the fire of the epic (which the film shows quite reliably), mentioning the possible causes of the fire and what happened in the hotel after him. After all the series on this subject was too “artistic.”

The authors of the film tried to mix together multiple versions generated during the investigation of causes of the tragedy in “Russia”. We got a kind of explosive compote. There’s a fire in the hotel the radio station, and a short circuit in one of the boards on the floor and “fire” dismantling the warring criminal groups Caucasians…

By far the reliable information contained in the final series, is about a strange rush, which began clearing affected the Northern building, destroying all material evidence, which is so necessary during the investigation.

That recalls on this occasion the chief architect of the restoration project of the hotel after the fire, Vitaly Mazurin:

— Less than a day after the tragedy occurred the evening of 26 February began the clearance of damaged floors. For this, the hotel sent a regiment of civil defense. And the day after, on Sunday, the 27th, “the owner of Moscow” comrade Grishin put before architects and builders challenge: need a hotel to recover for the may holidays!

In such contingencies the investigation of the fire in “Russia” to conduct was very difficult. The prosecutors just did not have time to inspect all premises affected by fire: they are everywhere ahead of numerous soldiers with stretchers and shovels, which are zealously engaged in clearing the Northern building, preparing for an urgent repair. And in some cases, the interrogators somehow “didn’t notice” important evidence.

— I had then great confidence, that it was done intentionally, — said Vitaly Mazurin. — Here is one of the most memorable occasions. I showed the investigator a very characteristic damage: aluminum box door leading to the Central staircase, with one side welded through the edge of this hole is turned inward. That is, there is a clear trail of a powerful flaming torch!.. Prosecutors just chuckled and went on. And the next morning this aluminum jamb disappeared without a trace.

Not even waiting for the preliminary results of the investigation, the Kremlin’s top pointed to the cause of the tragedy: an accident. Such a formulation appeared in the published a few days in the “Truth” official address of the Politburo of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers.

Now I had to find the extreme. They quickly “appointed” chief engineer of the hotel, as well as the head of the administration of weak currents (because supposedly subordinate the premises of the radio station on the 5th floor there was a fire from-for left without supervision of a soldering iron). As a result, these accidents have received jail sentences.

However, convincing evidence version with a soldering iron and have not received. Its main flaw is the inability to explain the swiftness with which the fire spread through the building. Judging by the stories of firefighters, literally within minutes, the flames managed to cover 8 of the upper floors of the huge building.

— The spoken version, what is this “reactivity” contributed to the abundance of synthetic materials in the decoration of hotel rooms, numerous ventilation ducts and risers with communications, — said Vitaly Mazurin. But it is absolutely not true! During the investigation we carried out the corresponding experiment. Synthetic materials on walls and floors, being in the zone of fire, only melted, but not flared. As for the spread of fire through the building through communication… Few people know that since its opening in 1967 in “Russia” happened more than a hundred fires (from irons, boilers and other household appliances) and almost all of them ended with only a small stir. One of the most serious incidents occurred in 1987 in the North block again there was a fire with fatalities. In a room on the 2nd floor exploded colour TV — set fire to the curtains, the furniture. The guest got scared and ran away, leaving the door wide open. The draft sucked the flame into the next room, one of the women who were there, suffocated in the smoke… burned out 4 rooms. But in this and in all other cases there was not even a hint of any large-scale fire spread through the floors of the building!

A few years after the event occurred, confirming the failure of the official version of the causes of fire in the largest Moscow hotel. In October 1993 in front of Moscow burned the White house. The beginning of this fire, according to the results of the investigations, very similar to the situation in “Russia”: there was a fire in a technical room (supposedly there tried to burn some papers). What was happening then was seen by many. The fire (which, by the way, nobody tried to extinguish — not before it) flared up a few hours before I could reach the upper floors. It remains to add that the designs of the White house and “Russia” are very similar. Conclusion? Evening in February 1977 in the hotel there was anything but an accidental fire due to some soldering!

According to Vitaly Andreevich, the picture of the fire was actually much more unclear:

— Vicentiu scheme, which was designated the all the victims from the fire room, I came to the unequivocal conclusion: the fires were at least a few dozen! And between burnt-out rooms were the room not touched by fire. Almost completely destroyed the 5th and 12th floors, suffered the 11th, but the neighboring 10th remained almost unharmed…

And another interesting fact: in many places cleared the flames on the ceiling formed a thick layer of strange oily soot. Workers complained that it is impossible to clean off concrete slabs and have a great difficulty to tear scrapers. And a few people from among the staff who worked that evening in North block, told me afterwards about some of the fiery streams that appeared suddenly here and there from under the door. Attempts to fill these streams with water only led to the fact that the mysterious substance began to blaze even hotter. What is this hellish mixture had been? Who used it?..

— In fact, the fire began not in the radio station, as stated in the official investigation, and beside him, in one of the four elevators, told me Maria Stepanova, the former that ill-fated night duty at the 11th floor of the North building “Russia”. In the cabin, an explosion occurred, just when she was on the fifth floor. Some of our staff then saw the cab: it was all like a sieve. And on the deck surrounding the Elevator, all badly burned, including even synthetic flooring. But I saw then conducted an experiment: this specially synthetics have tried to burn, but she did not want to light up, even when its gasoline moistened. So the Elevator was embedded in a special kind of accelerant…

And another interesting fact, heard from Maria Stepanova. Once on the next day after the fire in North block, she noticed a strange pattern: no matter how badly damaged by fire a particular room, a power distribution box mounted in the corridor of each residential compartment was almost completely destroyed. In their place was a gaping blackened hole.

In these niches, zakrivalasj outside decorative panels-doors, very convenient to hide some explosive elements — sure Stepanova.

It turns out that all-taki in “Russia” was a terrorist act!

Veterans of the fire service, with whom had a chance to talk, remember that it was at that time in the capital frequent fires on especially important objects. Flashed one of the new buildings of the Kremlin hospital, Ostankino television center… (And in both cases investigators found traces of obvious arson.) It seems that “hotel No. 1” also appeared in the lists of unknown terrorists.

And lit up this “Russian “Hilton” it’s amazing to time: in February 1977 in the capital gathered from all over the Union regional Secretary for ideology to discuss in the Kremlin, the text of the new Constitution. Most of these party leaders settled in “Russia”.

To prepare such an attack at that time was not so hard, — said Mazurin. Serious access control at entrance “Russia” did not exist. The attacker, dressed to disguise, for example, in the uniforms of hotel staff, could easily penetrate to the interior of the hotel and carry with you anything.

Of course, the question arises: if it was a terrorist attack — who organized it?

Criminal structures? Too large-scale action for them. After this fiery nightmare, arranged at the side of the Kremlin, it was possible to get under a heavy blow-retribution law enforcement agencies.

Someone from the opposition party nomenclature? Well, to shake the power of the aging General Secretary Brezhnev and his team like many. To excite the people a monstrous fire (maybe not) and to try in this situation is to take the reins of the country in their hands — a Jesuit, but it is possible the strategic plan.

Representatives of special forces of the interior Ministry and the KGB, conflicting? At least indirectly related to the tragedy they might have. It is no secret that the relevant Department of the state security service, there was a tapping and a network of agents in all the hotels where foreigners stayed. And “Russia” at that time was considered the favourite residence of foreign citizens, arrived in the capital of the USSR. This version deserves even greater attention, given that one of the main sources of fire found in the area of radio, where it could find some purpose-built systems. In addition, the shift foreman who was on duty on the farm of radio fans that night, on the second day after the fire was found hanged — not in the apartment (as shown by the authors of the series), and in the basement of his house. But death is definitely very strange…

And finally, one more suggestion. As we found out from conversations with old residents of the city, on Moscow, then, in early 1977, there were rumors about some anti-Communists, who were preparing a very peculiar meeting of the forthcoming anniversary of the October revolution. Supposedly there were even hanging homemade flyers-posters: “the 60 anniversary of the October revolution — 60 torches.” One of these sixty “torches” had become main hotel in the capital. Perhaps the organizers of the burning of “Russia” pre-settled in the North block and taking advantage of the opportunity laid in secluded corners of their infernal machines. And then, after completing the task, terrorists took steps to destroy the traces of their stay.

— A few days after the fire, an unknown man entered the premises on the 7th floor, where he kept logs on all residents, and burned part of these documents — said Maria Stepanova. — Some of our passing by, noticed the fire and raised the alarm. The policeman on duty chased after the man, but he apparently knew very well all the nooks and crannies of the hotel. Brought the policeman into the far corridors of the underground floors, where suddenly attacked and killed him, and he disappeared without a trace…

Staff long-suffering “Russian “Hilton” did not give rest, and in the coming weeks. While there was a repair of the burned-out floors on the remote duty in other cases “Russia” has repeatedly called for some anonymous and threatened: “Tonight will burn the Western building… the Eastern block!” Had to significantly enhance the protection of the huge building. In the end, repeated arson never happened.

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