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Russia vs. the West
Russia's Public Enemy #1: McDonald's

When Russia recently shut down the famous McDonald’s in Pushkin Square—famous because of its symbolic importance as the first McDonald’s opened in the country—we noted that there might be a glimmer of hope for the MacDonald’s peace theory after all. That theory states that countries with McDonald’s branches won’t go to war with each other; we speculated that perhaps if they do then go to war, one of them will close up their restaurants. Since then, officials have stepped up closures of the fast food chain, as the WSJ reports:

By Friday a total of 12 McDonald’s restaurants had been shut down by Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s state consumer regulator, over alleged sanitary violations—up from eight on Thursday—and an unprecedented 100 outlets were being inspected, up from several last week, the company said in a statement Friday. […]

The closure of some of those restaurants, including Russia’s first iconic McDonald’s restaurant that opened in Pushkin Square in 1990, was upheld by Russian courtsWednesday.

This is clearly part of Putin’s overall plan to “deWesternize” his country, setting it apart from Western influences and culture. In the past, he’s done this by getting cozy with the Orthodox church, closing adoption agencies to U.S. parents, and stigmatizing homosexuality. Now he’s attacking one the biggest symbols of “evil Western globalization”: the golden arches. The symbolism is clear: at least publicly, Russia once again wants nothing to do with the West.

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  • lukelea

    LAKE SELIGER Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia’s armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: “It’s best not to mess with us.”

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    Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence.

    He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

    I think Putin has a point. First, EU and US backed protest groups overthrow the elected Ukrainian head of state, whose re-election was already scheduled, whereupon the new parliament tips its anti-Russian hand by briefly outlawing the Russian language. Russia seizes Crimea, which destabilizes the electoral balance of power within Ukraine between the eastern and western halves of the country. The new head of state then aggressively presses (with Western support!) a military offensive against separatist forces in the heavily Russian eastern provinces instead of offering to negotiate a more federal structure of the Ukrainian state.

    A big part of the problem, or so I read, is that there is a big conflict of interest between the two halves of the country over future economic policy: were Ukraine to affirm a free-trade agreement with EU, the heavy industries upon which the eastern half of the country depends for employment, and upon which Russia also depends for the supply of strategic industrial imports, would become obsolete, because uncompetitive with European companies.

    All of this should have been foreseen, and would have been by a more experienced foreign diplomatic establishment. In short, the EU and US are bringing this crisis upon themselves. It is still not too late to retrieve the situation.

    Of course I’m just an armchair amateur in such matters. Walter’s analysis would be far more persuasive. Where does he stand (as opposed to his minions, whose writings are not nearly as penetrating)?

    • Andrew Allison


    • El Gringo

      Ah yes, the old “Russia is the victim and the U.S. forced it to invade Ukraine and shoot down a jumbo jet full of innocents” apology.

      Here, I found a game you will enjoy.

      • lukelea

        Hey, at least I have been following the story.

  • lukelea

    You don’t have to agree with everything that Czech theoretical physicist Lubos Motl (famed for his intemperate personality) says about the Ukrainian situation to see that he makes some valid points:

  • hooharhar

    Makes you wonder if they call french fries “motherland chips”.

  • محترف الالعاب
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