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Sunday Musings: Will Fast Food Protests Impact Ukraine War?

Though not a feature of the daily war headlines from Ukraine, a mass protest by the top western Fast Food chains may make a big impact on public opinion among Russians about the invasion. As of today, at least 7 major players in the grab-and-go sector have pulled out of Putinville…

A Russian McDonalds - © 2022 - Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin RoseA Moscow McDonald’s: The lights are now off and doors locked, for the duration…

It could well be a case of ‘hitting them where they live’, also sometimes expressed as ‘hitting them close to home’. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs ‘translates’ those sayings as: “To to affect one personally and intimately.

And that just might be what it takes for ordinary Russians, who’ve been fed a high-BS diet of Putin’s propaganda, to realize just how barbaric the Russian invasion of Ukraine is.

Propaganda blanket isolates ordinary Russians

One shocking example of the way Putin and his machine have been manipulating information within Russia came on CNN a couple of days ago. A resident of Kyiv or Mariupol, or somewhere else that’s under fire, told the host of the hour that his relatives in Russia are completely clued out about the realities of the war.

He had talked to them hours earlier, and they had told him what they were hearing was that Russian troops were driving into Ukraine unopposed and being welcomed as liberators. They were even, supposedly handing out food and warm clothes to Ukranians who had been caught up in a few small areas where ‘radicals’ had opposed the Russian advance, and shooting had taken place.

What’s more, the relatives wouldn’t believe the man when he told them what was really happening. Too much for them to process, I guess.

The ‘Food Effect’

Nothing ‘hits home’ like a food shortage (though high gasoline prices and fuel shortages come a close second in the West).

We can assume that Russians (at least in the large cities) are just as addicted to Fast Food as we are. When their old, familiar sources close down, all at once, they’re bound to start asking questions.

I wonder if the proprietors of the 850 or so Russian MacDonald’s locations now shuttered left notes in the windows telling their customers why? I suppose the authorities would remove any such notices once they were aware of them. But at least a few patrons would have read them by then. And news travels fast, especially when it’s about something as important as your daily ‘fix’.

The next scene in the drama would be the issuing by the Putin Machine of disinformation condemning the closing of the Fast Food joints in Russia as a knee-jerk reaction by Western Russia-hating Capitalists. Engineered, they would probably say, by the CIA on Biden’s personal orders. Anybody spreading the message from the window notes would be branded a dissident, possibly even a fifth-columnist. But that’s straying off topic.

The word would still get around

But the would would get around, and even Russians (albeit mainly young people) who missed their Fast Food would get hot under their collars. They might even stage protests demanding that the restos re-open and/or that the government stop doing what it was doing to trigger the closures. How embarrassing for the Putin Gang, if word about what was really going on in Ukraine spread far and wide at home!

Not that Putin cares that much about public opinion. But protests would be visible to the world, and disruptive to the carefully regulated Russian way of life. No to mention the military resources he might have to pull back from Ukraine to subdue the ‘dissidents’.


Here’s a digest of the Fast Food joints now closed in Russia:

  • McDonald’s – 850 locations – 62,000 employees – since 1992. Those tens of thousands of former employees could constitute a whole fifth-column truth-spreading force on their own!

Not to mention all the other laid-off workers from these other chains:

  • Starbuck’s – 130 locations
  • KFC – 1,000+ locations
  • Pizza Hut – 50 locations
  • Taco Bell – ? locations
  • Papa John’s – 186 locations
  • Panda Express – 3 locations


  • Coca-Cola and Pepsico have also pulled out of Russia, corporately. Alas for the cause, some local bottlers there appear to still be some selling Coke and Pepsi branded products.

A last word…

All the biggest revolutions in modern history have been triggered by food shortages. Take the French Revolution. And more to the point, the Russian Revolution. And let’s not forget the American Revolution, the last straw there being the British Tax on Tea – resulting in the Boston Tea Party.

Muse on that!

~ Maggie J.