McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in the Soviet Union over three decades ago. The fast-food giant was the first American company of its kind to crash through the Iron Curtain. In the midst of crushing international sanctions due to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the company has announced plans to pull out of the troubled nation.
There are currently 850 McDonald’s locations in Russia. Those restaurants employ over 62,000 people. The humanitarian crisis caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine has led the company to find doing business in Russia impossible, according to a report by the Associated Press.
McDonald’s temporarily shut down Russian operations in March after major public pressure and threats of boycotts. They continued to pay employees but were no longer offering any type of services there. That will come to an end soon, but McDonald’s is hoping to find a Russian buyer who will promise to keep workers on board after the change.
CEO Chris Kempczinski pointed out the dedication and loyalty of Russian McDonald’s employees. Kempczinski said the relationships they’ve built over three decades made leaving a difficult decision. The company decided that its global commitments outweighed its desire to stay in Russia.
“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values and our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there.”
McDonald’s will remove all of their signature branding from their current Russian locations. As they attempt to find a buyer, the future of the company under Putin’s rule will come to an end. Time will tell if McDonald’s decides to return in the future, but for now, Russians will have to find a new favorite fast food joint.
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