McDonald’s announced on Monday that it would abandon the Russian market entirely after more than three decades, setting the stage for the sale of its 850 restaurants in the country.
The Chicago-based fast-food chain temporarily closed its Russian stores in March in response to the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine, but continued to pay full wages to its 62,000 workers. Now McDonald’s says it is looking for a Russian buyer who will continue to pay its employees at least until a sale is closed as it begins removing its iconic golden arches from stores across Russia.
“We have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement, adding that the chain’s presence was “no longer sustainable” in Russia. “Our commitment to our values means we can no longer keep the arches shining there.”
The burger giant is the oldest American fast food chain in Russia. He opened his first restaurant in the center of Moscow in January 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, before queues of thousands of people.
His departure symbolizes how radically relations between Russia and the West have soured since President Vladimir Putin launched his new assault on Ukraine.
Nearly 1,000 Western companies have scaled back operations in Russia since the war began in late February, including fast-food brands Domino’s Pizza and Burger King.
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