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Russia Checks More McDonald's After Closing 3

Published: August 22, 2014 (Issue # 1825)



  • A man tries unsuccessfully to get into the McDonald’s restaurant on Manezh Square in the center of Moscow.
    Photo: Pascal Dumont / SPT

MOSCOW — Russia's food safety agency said Thursday that it was checking McDonald's restaurants around the country, a day after several branches of the chain were shuttered in Moscow.

The pressure on the American chain, which has 435 restaurants in Russia, comes at a time of heightened tensions over the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

After the United States and the European Union slapped sanctions on Russian state banks and major industries last month, Russia responded with a wide-ranging ban on food products imported from those countries.

Inspections took place or were planned in dozens of regions, Russian news agencies reported, quoting regional representatives of the federal regulatory agency, Rospotrebnadzor. It was unclear how many restaurants were affected, and whether any of them were closed down as a result.

On Wednesday, the agency ordered four Moscow restaurants to suspend operations, citing numerous violations of sanitary laws. McDonald's said only three of those restaurants were closed.

One of those restaurants, on Moscow's central Pushkin Square, was the first to open in the Soviet Union in 1990, drawing crowds of thousands that circled around the block. The restaurant became a symbol of reform and openness with the West, and today it is one of the company's most visited venues in Russia.

News reports on Russian state television, which plays a powerful role in shaping public opinion, included interviews with passers-by who offered their opinions on the unhealthiness of the restaurants' fast food and noted that Russia now has plenty of homegrown alternatives.

In a statement posted on the Russian version of its website Wednesday, the company said it was studying the regulatory agency's complaints to determine what needed to be done to reopen the restaurants as soon as possible. McDonald's 435 restaurants in Russia include 115 in Moscow, where some 12,000 people are employed.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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