In the wake of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 by a Russian missile, President Obama announced a tough new set of sanctions against Russia. The sanctions, which have belatedly been embraced by our European allies, aim to cut the Russian Federation off from the global financial system. They specifically target some of the biggest enterprises in Russia, including Rosneft, the oil conglomerate that accounts for about eight percent of Russia’s GDP.
So how did Vladimir Putin respond to this economic slap in the face? Did he cut off shipments of gasoline to all the Lukoil stations in America? Did he embargo all the boats carrying cases of Stolichnaya across the Atlantic?
No. Vlad the Impaler bared his teeth and told the Russian people they can’t eat any more American cheeseburgers.
You read that right. Putin trotted out his hand-picked head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service in Russia, Anna Popova. “We have identified violations that put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald’s chain in doubt,” Ms. Popova gravely announced.
Popova’s “watchdog” agency said it carried out inspections of McDonald’s restaurants in June and discovered that the fast-food giant has been “deceiving consumers about the energy value of its Cheeseburger Royales, Filet-o-Fish, Cheeseburgers and Chicken Burgers, and about the nutritional value of its milkshakes and ice cream.”
Popova also claimed to have discovered at least one Caesar wrap and a vegetable salad at the Mickey D’s in Moscow that was contaminated with bacteria.
We’d question these findings, particularly the concerns about the energy value of McDonald’s fast food, but we just downed a couple of cheeseburgers and a Filet-o-Processed Fish and we need to take a long nap. As to the nutritional value of McDonald’s thick shakes, we’re wondering if Anna factored in the two Bavarian Creme crullers from Dunkin’ Donuts we usually add to the shakes as a “vitamin supplement.”
McDonald’s operates about 400 restaurants in Russia and sees the country as one of its top seven major markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report. In April, some Russian politicians called for all McDonald’s outlets in the country to be shut after the company closed its restaurants in Crimea, whose annexation by Russia in March triggered U.S. and European sanctions.
Ronald McDonald could not be reached for comment, and we’re too tired to say anything more. You gonna eat those fries?