Perched on a crane, the workers are busy dismantling the two familiar golden arches of the American fast-food chain. McDonald’s in Russia, it’s over. Since the war in Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions applied by the West, the American giant had come to a standstill, and announced in May that it had started selling its stores.
It’s a Siberian oil magnate, Aleksandr Govor, who has just bought the 840 Russian franchises, and is preparing to reopen a fast-food chain to get business back on track: it will be like McDonald’s, with (almost) the same ingredients as McDonald’s, but it will be a Russian McDonald’s, and therefore Kremlin-compatible.
Same, but different
The name of the chain has not yet been made public, but its logo has been unveiled, in anticipation of the grand reopening scheduled for this Sunday, June 12: a red circle and two orange bars on a green background, which probably represent a burger and two fries.
The opening of this not-so-new channel will fall on a symbolically opportune date: June 12 coincides with Russia Day, which in 1990 marked the feast of the Russian Federation’s sovereignty over the USSR, which was dissolved the following year.
Fifteen fast-food restaurants will be reopened for the occasion, in particular the one that overlooks Pushkin Square, in Moscow, and which inaugurated the very first McDonald’s opened in Russia, in 1990. Symbol of the opening of the former Soviet economy to Western companies at the time, tomorrow it will carry the sign of a chain born in reaction to the sanctions of this same West.
Until then, the McDonald’s app in Russia has been soberly and temporarily renamed “My Burger”. But among the burgers that will now be offered to Russians, there will no longer be Big Macs, the sauce having been patented.