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Putin gives blessing to Russian theme park designed by North Hollywood firm

A massive Russian theme park designed with the help of a North Hollywood design firm has won the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The $4-billion Magical World of Russia, was presented to Putin last week by Anatoly Artamonov, governor of the Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow, where the theme park would be built.

According to news reports, Putin gave the project his support even though the project is expected to be built with private investments, led by Los Angeles-based Moschanko Investment Group.

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The news comes as Walt Disney Co. prepares this week to open its $5.5-billion theme park resort in Shanghai to take advantage of the growth of the Chinese middle class.

A Russian news site shows Artamonov presenting Putin with drawings and depictions of the proposed 540-acre resort on the border of the Kaluga region.

The Moschanko Investment Group, headed by Gennady Moshkovich, first proposed a $2.5-billion theme park on 600 acres in Russia in 2011. Since then, Moshkovich said he has moved the site of the resort to a location slightly farther from Moscow but with better access to a rail line, a highway and an airport.

The proposed resort has also expanded from seven theme parks within the complex to 10, including a science-based park, he said.

The blessing from Putin is “very, very, very important,” Moshkovich said. “It’s enormous.”

If all goes well, construction could begin in 14 months, with completion of the entire resort taking place in about five years, he said.

The project has been designed by the Goddard Group, whose founder, Gary Goddard, helped create the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios Hollywood as well as the Terminator 2: 3-D and the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attractions at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. More recently, Goddard helped design the $2-billion, 2,200-room Galaxy Mega Resort in Macau, which opened in 2011, and the $3.2-billion Studio City resort and casino, which opened last year, also in Macau.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter

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