With diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia at a low not seen since the Cold War, the Kremlin appears to be taking aim at McDonald's. According to Reuters, the burger chain — which served as a symbol of American capitalism in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union — has suddenly been bombarded with accusations of deceiving customers and serving food of poor quality. "We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald's chain in doubt," said Anna Popova, Russia's chief sanitary inspector.
It is only since the Obama Administration began using sanctions to discourage Russian President Putin from continuing his actions in Ukraine that health inspectors began accusing the American burger chain of wrong-doing. The claims started with a local watchdog agency called Rospotrebnadzor. According to the BBC, the agency filed a lawsuit in Moscow against McDonald's, requesting that they remove a number of menu items from among their offerings, including Cheeseburgers and Filets-o-Fish. McDonald's currently operates about 400 locations in Russia, and began expanding its presence earlier this year. In April, the company suspended operations at its three Crimean restaurants after Russia annexed the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula.
Times are tough for McDonald's in Russia, which used to be very popular among Russians. In the wake of U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia, the government is on a mission to discourage citizens from patronizing non-Russian businesses. The hashtag #EatRussian is trending on Twitter, reports the BBC. Pro-Russian social media users have responded to the prospect of new sanctions on food and essentials by urging others to eat produce grown in Russia and to avoid food from the West.
Tweets vary from the blunt: "Down with Cola and burgers!" To the confusing: "I'm gonna have some borscht :)" Borsht is originally from Ukraine.
· Russia Takes Aim at McDonald's as U.S. Ties Worsen [Reuters]
· McDonald's in Russian Court Case over Standards [BBC]
· BBC Trending [BBC]
· All McDonald's Coverage on Eater [-E-]