Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin celebrated his 56th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the country’s cinema industry with a tour of Russian World Studios’ $250 million complex on Tuesday.

Entertainment company RWS is hosting the All-Russian Conference on Cinematography at the St. Petersburg complex, which will officially launch later this year.

RWS has invested $100 million in the studio — which it claims is the first dedicated production studio built in Russia in 60 years — and plans to invest another $150 million in the second and third construction stages.

Welcoming Putin, RWS co-founder Yuri Sapronov said, “We are excited to celebrate our 10th anniversary with the beginning of production at this outstanding facility. The St. Petersburg location allows us to expand our film and television slate.”

The 118,000-square-foot studio offers six sound stages and a full range of production and post-production services.

The next phase of construction will include a 21,500-square-foot stage, special effects studio and film processing lab.

Cinematography confab participants, including Putin, who spoke at the event, toured the studio and had a sneak peek at some RWS productions.

The event continues the celebration of 100 years of Russian cinema, following events at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and the opening of the first Russian pavilion at Cannes’ Intl. Village.

RWS collaborates with companies including Sony Pictures Television, HBO Films, Hallmark Entertainment and Beacon Pictures. It has produced almost 500 hours of TV and film content this year and plans to double that figure for 2009.

RWS is owned by JSFC Sistema, the largest consumer-oriented private sector company in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.