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No Big Macs for Crimea; No Tacos for Putin

Paul Ausick

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) will close its three restaurants in Crimea, saying that it is “currently evaluating potential business and regulatory implications which may result from the evolving situation” in the peninsula annexed by Russia on March 18. The U.S. government, among others, has imposed a variety of sanctions on Russian individuals and companies, but so far has taken only token action against the government.

In a statement on its website McDonald’s said that the closing of its Crimean stores is also due to the “suspension of necessary financial and banking services.” McDonald’s is also careful to say, “It is important to note that this is strictly a business decision which has nothing to do with politics.”

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But politics -- or at least marketing based on politics -- was the entire story from Buffalo, N.Y.-based Mighty Taco. The Mexican fast-food eatery has banned Russian President from all 23 of its locations in western New York state. In a posting on the company’s Facebook page, Mighty Taco tells Putin, “You may be ordering around the Crimea, Mr. Putin, but you won’t be ordering a Super Mighty around here anytime soon.”

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When McDonald’s reported same-store sales for February, its European segment was the only region to post a gain. While Russia was not called out as having contributed to the company’s European sales growth, Russia has been a growth spot for McDonald’s.

Meantime, on the other side of the Atlantic, Forbes noted that French aerospace company Arianespace has signed a contract with Russia’s space agency Roscosmos to acquire seven Soyuz rockets through 2018. Freedom fries anyone?

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