McDonald’s announced on Tuesday it would temporarily close all 847 of its restaurants in Russia, including its iconic Pushkin Square location, in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an open letter to employees, shared on Twitter, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said closing those stores for now was the right thing to do.
“In the thirty-plus years that McDonald’s has operated in Russia, we’ve become an essential part of the 850 communities in which we operate. At the same time, our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine”, Kempczinski said.
In a message shared to employees and franchisees, CEO Chris Kempczinski shared that McDonald's will temporarily close all restaurants and pause all operations in Russia. Click to read the message in its entirety. https://t.co/g8BXaKxvNj pic.twitter.com/6jt0NnYhKz
— McDonald's Corporation (@McDonaldsCorp) March 8, 2022
The announcement comes after the fast food giant faced growing public pressure to pull out of Russia after the hashtag #BoycottMcDonalds began trending on Twitter.
Many people criticised McDonald’s, along with other food and beverage companies such as KFC, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, for continuing to operate in Russia after the invasion.
McDonald’s said it would continue paying salaries to its 62,000 employees in Russia “who have poured their heart and soul into our McDonald’s brand”.
The company has also donated $5 million to its Employee Assistance Fund, and supports “relief efforts led by
The company is set to continue monitoring the situation in Ukraine to determine “if any additional measures are required”, though the CEO said it is currently “impossible to predict” when operations may restart in Russia.
When McDonald’s opened its first Russian restaurant on 31 January 1990, less than two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it sent a powerful message that the hostilities of the Cold War era were starting to thaw.
In the hours after news broke of the closures, long queues began forming outside the Pushkin Square McDonald’s as people… of Russians scrambled to their nearest McDonald’s restaurant for one final meal.
Video footage of the lines began going viral on social media.
Supersize me ! There's a long queue forming in Moscow outside the huge and historic #McDonalds on Pushkin Square after the US fastfood giant announced it was closing in Russia. pic.twitter.com/C8mZCzFhpc
— Jason Corcoran (@jason_corcoran) March 8, 2022
— 🇺🇦 (@UKR247) March 9, 2022
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