“More than half an hour of waiting, but it was worth it,” Alina and Igor told Efe after leaving one of the few McDonald’s establishments that still operate in the Russian capital and that will lower the blind from one day to the next due to the Western sanctions against this country for the military campaign in Ukraine.

There are dozens of people in the queue to buy at the “last McDonald’s”, as a group of young people waiting for their turn have called it.

Most of those congregated near the popular place, located in the territory of a train station in the capital, are teenagers or parents with children, but there are also adult couples.

Tatiana and Maxim are in their fifties and confess that McDonald’s is one of their favorite places.

“Lately we didn’t come much, not like 20-30 years ago, when we were kids, but now that they close we had to say goodbye,” says Tatiana.

Many McDonald’s lovers want to immortalize what may be their last visit to a local of the famous chain.

Thus, several young people who walk away from the boxes with a soft drink and a hamburger immediately take out their mobiles to pose with the newly acquired food in a selfie.

Others ask their friends to take a picture of them sinking their teeth into a Big Mac. “Make me another one, make me another one,” asks a kid, while his friends do not stop laughing and suggest the protagonist of the photo make different faces.

Despite the effusive farewell from McDonald’s, many citizens will prepare to welcome their mysterious Russian substitute.

And it is that the 850 restaurants of the chain were bought this May by the Russian businessman Alexandr Govor, who already operated 25 McDonald’s establishments in Siberia.

The new owner plans to keep the old menu. At least that is what the establishments located in Moscow will do, promised this week the mayor of the capital, Sergey Sobyanin.

The first “Russian McDonald’s” is expected to open its doors on June 12, coinciding with Russia Day, a national holiday in this country.

Of course, until now the name of the new fast food business is not known, which will not be able to reproduce the legendary letter M in its advertising image.

McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in Russia in 1990, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, making it a precursor to the fall of the “iron curtain” for many.

The first restaurant of the American chain appeared in Pushkinkaya Square, in the heart of Moscow, and was crowded by Soviet citizens at the time, eager to try the famous hamburgers they had heard so much about.

In the following three decades, McDonald’s restaurants accompanied the Russians during all the internal and external turbulence and came to gain a good reputation among families with children, motorists, office workers and many other categories of workers who were looking for a little break from their daily chores. in the frenzy of the big cities.

But in the spring of 2022 the chain announced its definitive departure from the country due to the Russian military campaign in Ukraine.

McDonald’s Russia explained to Efe that the sale of the business provides for the preservation of the jobs of tens of thousands of employees of the chain in Russia.

A spokeswoman for the group said that the Russian McDonald’s has about 60,000 workers, including those who work in its franchises, and that all of them will have free rein to continue their employment relationship with the new brand.

“Goodbye, old friend. The world is no longer the same no matter how hard it is for us to assimilate it, but having a regular hamburger in your hand helps maintain that ephemeral feeling of stability,” wrote a Muscovite in a forum, whose members participated in the choice of new names for the substitute for McDonald’s.

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