when workers are “under investigation”, nine stores, including flagship stores, are still closed.

the Chicago Tribune declared that Russia’s big fight against this fast-food chain brand “has ended the era of hope”.

the Soviets used it to peep into the “outside world”

on August 20 this year, Dmitry Boyko was surprised to find that McDonald’s in the square was closed on his way home. The 46 year old Moscow citizen exclaimed, “unbelievable!” Just a few hours ago, he was here tasting sandwiches.

Boyko was one of the first Soviet citizens to taste cheeseburgers and French fries. He was also a loyal customer of McDonald’s. On January 31, 1990, when McDonald’s first appeared in Moscow, he was one of 30000 people for the first time.

no one expected. On the third Wednesday of August, the Russian consumer protection and civil rights Supervision Bureau (rospotrebnadzor) closed three McDonald’s restaurants on the grounds that “the quantity and type of food did not match and did not meet hygiene standards”. Soon, the number of stores affected by the ban increased to 12. The New York Times pointed out that the future of the remaining more than 400 stores has become unpredictable as stores, including Pushkin square’s “flagship stores”, have been closed one after another.

although they understand the “economic war” between Russia and the west, regular customers such as Boyko still regard the closure of McDonald’s as a “political operation”. “Personally, I’m against closing this McDonald’s,” Boyko said. “It’s the first one. We should set up a monument here.”

24 years ago, the opening of McDonald’s was almost a well-known event in the city. Leonid borsherdsky, who later became a special commentator for Bloomberg in Russia, spent three hours in the biting wind in order not to appear “outdated”.

the cold wind in Moscow in the early spring is chilly. Someone brought tapes and played Lombard music. The people in line danced with the beat to keep warm. After entering the restaurant, Leonid, a vegetarian, ordered only a milkshake. “We waited in line, not because of hunger, but because the Soviets had hardly seen the outside world. We wanted to see the ‘outside world’.” He explained.

for ordinary Soviets, the emergence of McDonald’s symbolizes an open attitude to the world. At the peak of Gorbachev’s reform in 1990, when western media reported relevant news, they said that the Soviets were scrambling to “taste the taste of freedom”.

eating McDonald’s is comparable to visiting the Kremlin

. In that era of scarcity, McDonald’s did play the role of “window of the world” in the Soviet Union.

“at that time, going abroad required various approvals,” said Victor roshenko, editor of Russia’s spark magazine. “Therefore, for many people, entering the door of McDonald’s was like stepping out of national boundaries and entering another world.”

the billboard in front of McDonald’s radiated bright light all night, comparable to the red star on the Kremlin spire. Facing it is a bronze statue of Pushkin, a great poet. It seems that the “spokesperson of Russian national culture and soul” seems to be silently overlooking the people waiting in line on the other side of the road to enjoy the style of “another world”.

McDonald’s in Pushkin square is only a few blocks from the Kremlin. In the hearts of Moscow residents in the early 1990s, when relatives and friends came to travel, taking them to McDonald’s was as important as taking them to visit the Kremlin.

from this, that generation of Soviets had a unique “McDonald’s complex”. After the closure storm this summer, photographer matusala published a “love letter to McDonald’s” in the Calvert journal.

“we don’t know what fast food is. We once thought it was an elegant restaurant providing American food. We thought it might be the taste of freedom. We all want to have a taste.” Matusala recalled that everyone from the doorman to the university professor was looking forward to going to McDonald’s. The serpentine procession winds, sometimes even around Pushkin square.

when spring comes and summer comes, the team not only does not shorten, but keeps growing – people from other cities come to try fresh food when they hear the news. Finally, mathuselah’s mother decided to take him to have a try. “We waited in the hot sun for eight hours, which is not a problem for me. That’s because we often have to stand for a few days in order to get the monthly ration of sugar and tea.” As soon as

entered the store, mathusala was “melted” by the enthusiasm of the young clerk behind the counter. They smiled and were as busy as bees. “It was very different from those old and fat state-owned store saleswomen in white robes, who always sat in front of empty shelves with only canned food in front of them.”

the excited matusala family imitated the appearance of other customers and ordered one of each kind of food. “Mom may have spent the whole month’s savings on this meal.” Mathusella still remembered the “ridiculously big” milkshake and the “Big Mac” hamburger that he couldn’t hold in his little hand – he only took one bite and the “Big Mac” fell to the ground. Mathusella cried loudly, while his mother got up angrily and bought another hamburger.

in matusala’s memory, “American food” tasted very exciting and was completely destroyed in less than 10 minutes. A lot of calories made his stomach uncomfortable. He rushed to the bathroom and found that there seemed to be more people in line than waiting for the door.

brings a new wind to the service industry and agriculture

in order to let the general public in the Soviet Union experience the American food culture,The negotiations between McDonald’s and Moscow authorities started in 1976 and lasted for 12 years, during which several times were on the verge of collapse. In April 1988, a formal agreement was finally signed, which stipulated that the first McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow was a joint venture between McDonald’s Canada and the Moscow legislature.

according to the British Daily Telegraph, the rent of the pavement is only 1 ruble a year. However, the bigger trouble lies ahead. According to George Cohen, a former head of McDonald’s Canada branch who introduced it into the Soviet Union, when he applied to the construction department for more sand and cement, the answer was “sorry, it’s not within the Department’s five-year plan”.

according to Cohen’s memoirs, one of the conditions for the Soviet government to agree to the settlement of McDonald’s is that the ingredients should be provided by local suppliers. So Cohen spent two years importing potato and cucumber seeds from the Netherlands and training Soviet farmers to “grow” these vegetables in a civilized way. They also told cattle farmers that beef cattle specially supplied by McDonald’s should be “castrated a month later and slaughtered a month earlier” to improve the proportion of lean meat. McDonald’s has also invested $40 million to build a food processing and distribution plant on the outskirts of Moscow, including baking areas, dairy and meat processing areas that meet McDonald’s standards, and even a small laboratory.

the next difficulty is to train waiters. Kohan was confident: “young people in the Soviet Union can win gold medals in the Olympic Games. Of course, I can teach them to work at McDonald’s.” According to time magazine, the first 605 waiters were selected from 27000 applicants and received strict “smile service” training.

kohan described: “suppliers are the stars of the opening day. This attracted Gorbachev’s attention. He thought our arrival would have a chain reaction to the Soviet agricultural system.” In this way, local farmers became the first to enjoy the “sweetness of capitalism”. Many companies that initially supplied ingredients to Pushkin Square restaurant have become large enterprises in the future. The most representative is dairy company wimm bill Dann, which became the first Russian food enterprise listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2002.

public space that the public can also enjoy

in 1991, when it was warm and cold, Martha Giesen braved the drizzle and lined up for 20 minutes to enter the McDonald’s restaurant on Pushkin square.

although it has been open for one year, the unique charm here still attracts the Soviets – as the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant, it has 27 ordering tables and can accommodate 700 people at the same time. Gibson said that at that time, McDonald’s was the only place in Moscow where ordinary people could afford to talk while eating and waiters were polite to ordinary customers. Throughout the rest of the city, few restaurants and cafes are either too expensive or “noble, cold and gorgeous”, which makes the general public feel particularly oppressed.

asked her to meet a young man who wanted to establish a non-governmental organization in the Soviet Union. Gibson told the New York Times that before McDonald’s, interviews and conversations had only two backgrounds, either the office of a government official or the crowded kitchen of a family. The indispensable public space in western culture simply did not exist in the Soviet Union.

people usually don’t miss things they’ve never had, but once they have something, they don’t want to let go. A few years later, the streets of Moscow were lined with cafes, restaurants and private clubs.

time goes by. McDonald’s is no longer the only public space. Its role in Russia has gradually become the same as that in most parts of the world: parents’ reward to their children, substitution in time for dinner, or occasional surrender to junk food. Only Moscow people over 35 remember McDonald’s once “noble status”.

after learning the news that McDonald’s in Pushkin square was closed, photographer matusala said that the move sent a clear message – not to Americans, but to Russians: the window to the world was closed.

witness the change of political wind direction under the confrontation between Russia and the United States

in the morning after McDonald’s in Pushkin square closed, Nicholas, a 65 year old man, shouted to those uninformed guests, “the door is closed!” Seeing people frown in disappointment, he continued to shout, “it’s politics! Just watch TV!”

“there is no place to eat cheaply except McDonald’s!” Nikolay pointed to tville street, where there were many high-end restaurants, and complained. “Officials don’t understand and don’t care.” His monthly pension is only 14000 rubles (about 1960 yuan).

according to the New York Times, each McDonald’s in Russia receives 850000 customers a year, twice as busy as McDonald’s in the United States. However, the Russian government’s closure of McDonald’s is more symbolic than commercial motivation.

McDonald’s is still a symbol of American global influence. Whenever there are anti American activities, it usually bears the brunt. When NATO bombed Serbia in 1999, demonstrators in Belgrade rushed into McDonald’s in the city center and looted it. After the referendum on Crimea’s entry into Russia, McDonald’s headquarters closed its local branches. Today, demonstrators shouting “down with American fast food” have also appeared in front of McDonald’s in many Russian cities, which has become a vivid footnote to the deterioration of Russia US relations again.

“the political wind is always changeable.” Analyst Jack Russo said it was too early to decide the fate of McDonald’s in Russia. “In the long run, being used as a political scapegoat may be better than being shut down because of health problems.” “As a businessman, you never want to be accused of being unsafe. That’s the worst.” He added, “you have no choice but to endure political problems.”

is headquartered in Oak Creek, IllinoisDanglao has announced that it will sue the Russian government for closing its stores. Another message posted on the company’s official website said, “we will do our best to continue to successfully operate McDonald’s in Russia.”