McDonald’s’ departure, like its arrival, is about a lot more than burgers. The golden arches of history, that once seemed to be bounding forward, now appear to be turning full circle and threatening to take Russia back in time.
An urban consumer culture built around Visa and Mastercard, Ikea, Nike, Apple, Zara and Netflix has evaporated in a few days.
When the first McDonald’s opened in Russia, the Soviet Union still existed. “We didn’t know what fast food was,” wrote Mitya Kushelevich, a photographer, in a recollection in the Guardian. “We thought it probably tasted like freedom and we wanted to sample it.”
To many people, it tasted like the end of the cold war, if not the end of history. But while Russians wanted to consume capitalism, they were careful from the start not to be consumed by it.
And some people resorted to drastic measures, such as a Russian person who had stockpiled McDonald’s burgers. Via Metro:
The CEO of McDonald’s said closing the stores is the right thing to do due to the ‘needless human suffering in Ukraine’.
There were huge queues on Tuesday as people flocked to get a final bite of their favourite meals from a McDonald’s in Moscow.
And now, it has emerged one Russian diner has bought in bulk.
A picture shared to Reddit shows a jam-packed fridge with burgers crammed onto every shelf.
The caption read ‘McDonald’s is permanently closing in Russia, here is my friend’s stash’.
One person commented: ‘Behold… the hoarder pounder.’
Another added: ‘If it’s not for personal consumption, it sure is a good business opportunity to sell stale burgers at a jacked price.’
I don’t see how taking mediocre burgers away from Russians, regardless of their stance on the Ukraine war, will affect anyone on either side but you do you, McDonald’s!