McDonald’s announced on Monday that it will be permanently closing up its operations in Russia after over 30 years in the country, and that it has begun selling off its restaurant locations.
The decision came after the company said in March it was temporarily closing its 850 Russian sites in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
McDonald’s said the decision was made due to the "humanitarian crisis" and "unpredictable operating environment" created by the Ukraine war, BBC News reported.
McDonald’s first opened a location in Russian in 1990 as the Cold War was coming to an end, with the arrival of the fast food giant in the Soviet Union seen as symbolic of the end of tensions between the West and the East.
In 1991, the USSR fell apart and when Russia opened its economy to Western companies, McDonald’s began to add more locations.
"This is a complicated issue that's without precedent and with profound consequences," McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a message addressed to staff and suppliers.
"Some might argue that providing access to food and continuing to employ tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, is surely the right thing to do.”
"But it is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. And it is impossible to imagine the Golden Arches representing the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago,” he added.
McDonald’s announced it will divest itself of all its locations, selling them to a local buyer and will be “de-arching” the franchises, removing its logo, name and menu. But the company said it will keep its trademarks in Russia.
The fast food company will write off as much as $1.4 billion as it leaves Russia.