Speed Reads


McDonald's announces total withdrawal from Russia after 32 years

McDonald's announced Monday that it plans to fully exit the Russian market in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, USA Today reports.

In March, the fast food giant said it would "temporarily close" all of its restaurants in Russia and "pause all operations in the market" while continuing to pay its 62,000 employees.

According to The New York Times, McDonald's "now plans to sell its business, which includes 850 restaurants, some run by franchisees, to a local buyer" who will remove McDonald's branding from the restaurants.

McDonald's said in a statement that continuing to operate in Russia amid the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine "is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald's values."

The first Russian McDonald's opened in 1990, before the fall of the Soviet Union. In 1996, author Thomas L. Friedman proposed what he called the "Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention" based on the claim that "[n]o two countries that both have a McDonald's have ever fought a war against each other."

"[W]hen a country reaches a certain level of economic development, when it has a middle class big enough to support a McDonald's, it becomes a McDonald's country, and people in McDonald's countries don't like to fight wars," Friedman wrote.

A study conducted last month by an independent pollster suggested that around 80 percent of Russians support the invasion of Ukraine. Very soon, Russia won't be a McDonald's country anymore.