Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 12, 2022
Bye-bye to the Big Mac: Russia’s war heralds a dark, isolated economic era
The big western brands showed Vladimir Putin how to do it. While the Kremlin’s army was getting bogged down in Ukraine, Coca-Cola and Starbucks lost no time in closing their doors to Russian customers.
But the most emblematic move of all came from McDonald’s, which has shut all 850 of its outlets in Russia. The availability of Big Macs in the Soviet Union was seen in 1990 as evidence that the west’s old cold war foe was turning its back on communism, but the past fortnight has rekindled memories of the bad old days. There were queues outside McDonald’s when it first opened in Moscow. Last week, Russians queued for one last burger before the pull-out began.
One of Putin’s predecessors in the Kremlin – Lenin – once said there were decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen, and that’s true of the period since Russian troops moved across the border into Ukraine on 24 February.