McDonald’s is pulling out of the Russian market. The company along with Coca-Cola baseball and apple pies has been synonymous with both America and American cultural influence around the world said that it is looking to sell its Russian operations because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The announcement comes not long after McDonald’s cut off new supplies to its Russian outlets as part of worldwide sanctions that were imposed on Russia. This led to absurd scenes of Russians waiting for hours in line just to get their last Big Macs and McShakes. And the Russian government even promised to intervene and take over the brand name locally, with or without the company’s cooperation.
Ironically, it was the entrance of McDonald’s into the Russian market that really marked the end of the Cold War. Seeing its iconic golden arches along with Coke, Pepsi and Doritos ads on billboards over Moscow left visitors with the feeling that they may as well have seen a huge American flag planted in the city as well to mark America’s victory over the Soviet Union.
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But now, Vladimir Putin and his ill-conceived invasion of Ukraine could end up being a isaster for Russia and its budding capitalists.
“This is a complicated issue that’s without precedent and with profound consequences,” Chris Kempczinski, the chief executive of McDonald’s, wrote in a message to franchises according to the New York Times. “Our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there.”
“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values.”
“Some might argue that providing access to food and continuing to employ tens of thousands of ordinary citizens is surely the right thing to do,” he added. “But it is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. And it is impossible to imagine the Golden Arches representing the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago.”