This Happened—January 31st: McDonald's In The USSR
Emerging from decades of communism and the Cold War with the United States, on this day in 1990, more than 5,000 people showed up at the opening of Moscow’s first McDonald's.
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Why did Moscow introduce the first McDonald’s to its people?
The entry of the iconic American chain into Russia was seen as a symbol of ongoing economic and political reforms between the U.S. and Russia. The company's operations in the country continued even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union the next year.
Was the Russian McDonald's menu different?
McDonald's restaurants in Russia serve chicken wings and shrimp, and McZavtrak, the menu for Russia’s version of McBreakfast offers cheesecake rolls, blini and oatmeal.
Is McDonald’s still operating in Russia?
McDonald's had over 800 restaurants across Russia with a total of 62,000 employees in 2022. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and pressure on social media, McDonald's announced in March that it would temporarily suspend its operations in Russia, but would continue to pay its employees there. A BBC reporter who attended the closing said that it was "hugely symbolic," as the first store's opening was "when iron curtains were crumbling & Russia was embracing the West."