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April 07 2015 - 18:04

Carnival Rides Shut Down at Moscow Park VDNKh Amid Ongoing Dispute

The Ferris wheel at popular park VDNKh.

The Ferris wheel at popular park VDNKh.

A Russian court has shut down several aging carnival rides, including the Ferris wheel, at popular park VDNKh in northern Moscow until the rides are approved by inspectors, the park said Tuesday in a statement on its website.

The park has for several years been waging a legal battle with the company that operated the rides on land it rents from the park. The park says the rides were illegally installed in the mid-1990s.

Last month, prosecutors said they were opening an inquiry into the rides' operator for endangering lives after a roller coaster at the park malfunctioned. A group of people were left stranded upside-down for half an hour before they could be rescued, media reported at the time.

The head of the park said at the time that he recommends visitors do not use the rides until official approval by inspectors.

"The rides have gotten very old. … Maybe the Ferris wheel was once not so bad, but that was a long time ago," the park's director, Vladimir Pogrebenko, said in comments carried by state news service Moskva.

In 2013 the Ferris wheel — reportedly Moscow's highest — left passengers stranded for about two hours because of a technical malfunction, media reports said.

In a combative point in the battle over the rides a year earlier, the park dug up asphalt surrounding the fairground, blocking access to it and saying it needed to carry out repair work.

The fairground responded by putting up a banner saying that a raider was attempting to take over the business.

VDNKh, whose name translates as "exhibition of achievements of the people's economy," was constructed in the late 1930s to showcase the accomplishments of the Soviet Union.

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