Russian Man Chains Himself To McDonald's To Stop It Closing

A Russian man has chained himself to a McDonald's to stop it closing, days after the company said it would stop operating in Russia due to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The Sun reported that the fast-food fan, Luka Safronov, was filmed at the Moscow restaurant just hours before all the McDonald's diners were due to close in Russia on Monday.

In a video of Sunday's protest on social media, Safronov is heard shouting in Russian "Closing down is an act of hostility against me and my fellow citizens!"

During his protest, other customers make the most of their last day at McDonald's for the foreseeable future, walking past him and going inside to order food.

Police eventually seize Safronov and drag him away through the crowd.

The popular fast-food franchise said on March 8 that it would temporarily close 850 locations in Russia, nearly two weeks after the war began on February 24.

McDonald's Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski wrote in a letter to employees and franchisees that the chain would continue to pay its 62,000 Russian employees, despite the closures.

McDonald's had been criticized for not moving to close its Russian business sooner. Other well-known food and drink brands Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Starbucks announced similar measures later on March 8.

Many McDonald's fans in Russia have been upset about the closure, and McDonald's meals are being sold online for hundreds of dollars, even though they're cold.

According to screen grabs from a Russian online marketplace, four burgers, nuggets and dipping sauce went for $325 in one instance.

Another example was $60 for just two burgers, two drinks and a cherry pie.

The presence of the fast-food chain in Russia has been symbolic, with the first one opening in the country in 1990 when the Soviet Union still existed and most Russians had never had fast food before. Despite the harsh winter weather, more than 30,000 people in Pushkin Square in downtown Moscow queued up to have one of McDonald's first meals in Russia back on January 31, 1990.

Although many brands have suspended their Russian business because of the war, many fast food outlets, including the majority of Burger King and KFC locations, have remained open.

Franchising agreements can often make it more complicated for brands to exit countries. For example, Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has temporarily shuttered 70 company-owned KFCs across Russia, but nearly 1,000 franchisee-owned KFCs and Pizza Huts have remained open. However, Yum Brands said in a statement on March 10 it's finalizing an agreement with its master franchisee to suspend all Pizza Hut operations in Russia.

More Western companies are exiting Russia as more people die in the war and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine worsens.

McDonald's Pushkin Square
People take pictures in front of the McDonald's flagship restaurant at Pushkinskaya Square - the first one of the chain opened in the USSR on January 31, 1990. A Russian man chained himself to a McDonalds to stop it closing, days after the company said it would stop operating in Russia due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. AFP