The Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor closed down at least four McDonald's in Moscow on Wednesday, saying it found multiple, undisclosed sanitary violations. Among those suspended is the symbolically important Golden Arches in Pushkin Square, the first McDonald's in Russia, opened in January 1990, about two years before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
McDonald's gets all its ingredients for its 438 Russian locations in Russia, so it isn't affected by the recent ban on Western agricultural products. Finding health violations at a McDonald's isn't totally implausible, but this move against the iconic American brand is being widely interpreted as a symbolic slap against the U.S. for its support of Ukraine in its tussle with Russia and pro-Moscow separatists.
"We are studying the substance of the complaints in order to define what action is necessary in order to open the restaurants for customers as soon as possible," said McDonald's in a statement.