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Russia Aims to Replace McDonald's Locations with 'Uncle Vanya's' Restaurants

Russia continues to display resourceful forms of resistance to sanctions and protests over its invasion of Ukraine


McDonald’s has closed its doors in Russia, joining a group of companies exiting the country after it invaded Ukraine, but it may face trouble if it intends to reopen.

A Russian alternative, Uncle Vanya, seems to be gearing up to take its place in the food market, bearing an oddly familiar logo.

On March 12, Uncle Vanya submitted a trademark filing with a yellow and red logo which appears very similar to the familiar Golden Arches of McDonald’s. The logo contains the universally recognizable arches, but it is tilted 90 degrees to the right. The arches form part of the letter “B” in the Cyrillic alphabet, which corresponds to the “V” in “Vanya.”

Uncle Vanya has not opened any of the new locations so far. However, the plan seems to be taking over existing McDonald’s locations.

According to the Washington Post, Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of Russia’s lower house in parliament, suggested Russian brands should take over McDonald’s locations.

“They announced they are closing. Well, okay, close. But tomorrow in those locations we should have not McDonald’s, but Uncle Vanya’s,” he said. 

The Russian government has since taken actions that allow Russians to ignore patents owned by entities from nations that Moscow deems as hostile. 

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a plan to nationalize foreign-owned businesses that have left the country due to its invasion of Ukraine. He said Russia must “introduce external management” on companies exiting the country “and then transfer these enterprises to those who want to work.”

The action taken by Russian leadership makes it possible for Uncle Vanya to fill the void left by McDonald’s.

According to the company’s reports, nine percent of McDonald’s $23.2 billion in revenue last year came from Russia and Ukraine.

McDonald’s has said it would keep paying employees’ salaries in Ukraine, where McDonald’s had 108 stores before the war. The company made the same promise for workers in Russia, where the company had nearly 850 stores and 62,000 workers.

In an email to employees, Chris Kempczinski, the chief executive of McDonald’s, said that it was impossible to predict when the company could reopen in Russia due to ” disruptions to our supply chain along with other operational impacts.”

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