The most exclusive club in Moscow, Dyagilev, burned down on February 7, 2008. No one died, but three people were hospitalized with serious injuries. One of the injured sustained serious burns, while two others suffered from smoke inhalation. Overall, the rescue effort lead by Moscow firefighters was impressive, as a facility filled with 1,500 drunk people was promptly evacuated at the break of dawn. The roof of the Diagilev club collapsed during the blaze. A rescue helicopter was scrambled to fight the fire with multiple ambulances and fire trucks also arriving on the scene. The fire, which spread over 15,000 square feet, was put out. Neighboring buildings were also evacuated.
The Diagilev Project was known to be the most lavish and high-profile spot for international celebrities, corporate executives, and the clubbing elite in Russia. Famous U.S. comedic actor Jim Carey, Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldo, and former world heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson used to stop by the club. The Chinese Embassy was planning to hold a New Year's party (Chinese Year of Rat) at Dyagilev the night after the fire. The club did not serve beer, and many Russian stars were unable to pass through the notorious face-control; reserving a private booth could cost as much as $40,000. Time magazine devoted three full pages to the club in a recent issue that proclaimed Russian President Vladimir Putin as Man of the Year.
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The chief "face-controller" named "Pasha-Face-Control" was well-known in Moscow, and several techno songs were devoted to him. The club opened in 2006, and has maintained its elite level on par with two other premium clubs, Opera and Rai (Heaven). Clubs are known to lose their prestige after two years of hype, and as one of the co-owners of the club said in his interview to a Russian news channel "this was a beautiful way to go". Many poems and articles on the Russian web are devoted to the club. Women who used to visit the club have been crying since the night of the fire. Three hundred club employees lost their jobs.
Revenge by clubbing rivals and insurance fraud were first suspected as reasons for the incident. However, a forensic investigation proved that the club was the victim of poor electrical wiring. The club was named after Sergei Dyagilev who lived during early 1900s and was known for throwing lavish parties in Europe. The club was located in the heart of Moscow, at the Hermitage Park, near the Kremlin.
Video of a party at Dyagilev
A helicopter rushing to put out the blaze
The building on fire