I’ve been continually amused by the Russian reaction to the sanctions that have been imposed upon the country over Crimea and the Ukraine. First they ban imports of fruit and veg from the EU and US. That’s clearly and obviously something that damages Russian citizens more than it does anyone else. Then there was the delightful idea that they would have price controls on the supplies they could get: exactly what not to do to encourage domestic production and imports from new suppliers. And now we’ve got them closing down McDonald’s branches in Moscow over “food safety violations“.
Russia has shut down four McDonald’s restaurants in Moscow for alleged sanitary violations in a move critics said was the latest blow in its tit-for-tat sanctions tussle with the west.
The federal monitoring service for consumer rights and wellbeing announced on Wednesday that the offending outlets included the famous restaurant on Pushkin Square that opened just before the fall of the Soviet Union. The body said the eateries were being shut down for “sanitary violations” discovered during inspections this week.
No, no one at all believes that it’s for any reason other than those sanctions. Quite apart from anything else the floor in a Maccy D’s will be cleaner than the average food preparation table elsewhere in Russia.
But of course there’s more to it than that: obviously, those who would eat at McDonald’s, ie the Russian citizenry, are discomfited by this. McDonald’s Canada, which owns (last I heard at least) 50% of the stores will lose money. But here’s where it gets really fun. The other 50% owner is Moscow City Council (again, last I checked).
So, err, Russian sanctions against the US reduces the cash income of the local council in Moscow.
I’m unconvinced that they’ve quite got the point of sanctions just yet: you’re trying to hurt the other guy, not yourself or your own citizenry.