Once in the headline I swung at our Viktor Pelevin with his Generation P software for the 1990s, I would like to start with a slightly altered quote (in fact, Pepsi replaced it with McDonald’s): “Once upon a time in Russia, it’s true there lived a carefree young generation that smiled at the summer, the sea and the sun – and chose McDonald’s. It is now difficult to establish why this happened. Probably, it was not only the wonderful taste of the drinks that are served there. And not in caffeine, which makes children constantly demand a new dose, since childhood, reliably introducing them into the cocaine fairway.
Many colleagues, including those from telegram channels, have been having fun for more than a week that, they say, the topic of opening a “Russified” McDonald’s has become almost the main one on the information agenda. “Only the Kremlin has not commented on the taste qualities that the new hamburgers should have,” the wits practiced humor. So on June 12, when the long-awaited opening took place, there were jokes about the huge crowds of Russians who gathered at the doors of the Russified McDuck.
No, I don’t argue, I myself am happy to have fun with the powerful creative of the “new” institution, starting from the logo and ending with the names of both the chain itself and the sandwiches. In general, there is something to joke about. Everything else is extremely serious.
The day for the opening, it must be said, was chosen symbolically in every sense (“Mak” is ours exactly on the Day of Russia) and practical, since the center of the capital is filled with Muscovites and guests of the city for the holiday, striving to participate in ceremonial events. Although it seems that on any other day, even a weekday, the epic return of McDonald’s in new packaging would attract crowds. No doubt.
By the way, about queues. What do you know about them. As I remember now, the winter of 1990. We, students of the faculty of journalism, naturally, could not help participating in a historic event – the opening of the first McDonald’s in our country. Fortunately, and the alma mater is nearby.
The first impression is a huge crowd of people, which, like a snake’s tail, bent several times on Pushkin Square and left for the theater named after the same great poet. Until that time, the record holders in my personal ranking always remained the line to the Mausoleum, but at the end of 1990 its laurels were transferred to the American eatery. Not for long, but still
How much did they stand? Now I can’t say for sure, but obviously a few hours. I remember when we were already halfway, classmate Lyuba wanted, figuratively speaking in American terms, to powder her nose. It was later, when McDonald’s became familiar, and the crowds dispersed, that it became the most convenient free way to satisfy your needs. At the first stage, it was necessary to look for alternative ways, which was complicated by the absence of free toilets in a noticeable number.
Surely simpler people used the surrounding houses for these purposes (I don’t envy the residents), but we are from the intelligentsia. Therefore, Lyuba went to the Hermitage Theater, which turned out to be the nearest place open to the sufferers with affordable amenities. Just imagine, a round-trip trip, on the way she managed to meet and chat with a gentleman who showed interest in her, and we advanced two or three meters.
Then there were already trips to the “Poppy” with a scholarship. One of my classmates once ate her entire 45-ruble raise there, which, I must say, is more than a dozen set meals with a Big Mac. In her own words, she rolled out of the establishment, and for the next month she had to limit herself to delicious and nutritious pasta.
For our generation, McDonald’s has truly become a symbol of a transitional era from the USSR to Russia, from the Soviet economy to free, as it seemed then, entrepreneurship, from a closed society to feeling like a part of the world. Already fueled by teleconferences with the former ideological enemy – the United States, the appearance of the first Western goods, we really believed that we were accepted into the global club.
We were definitely accepted. But not in the global club of partners and friends, but in the club of consumers, the window into which McDonald’s cut through in many respects. So? Brands of dubious quality and goodness are goods that you need to buy, buy, buy. Once again, a word to Viktor Pelevin: “A person thinks that he consumes, but in fact the fire of consumption burns him, giving him modest joys.”
Following McDonald’s, transnational corporations poured in to us, which began to reshape Russian reality to suit their interests under the slogan of benefiting the domestic economy. And we, with the enthusiasm of the savages who exchanged gold for stone beads, believed that they really wanted good for us. But the world of capitalism is accustomed to packing everything bad into a bright wrapper. Now it is quite obvious that under the guise of a kind clown with gifts, It came to us with its own interests.
As you know, globalism in the economy is always the interests of transnational companies that calculate what they need in a given region and production – open, close, produce only a component, and carry out general assembly where it is cheaper.
And yes, we were deceived by allegedly opening their arms. While we were moving in the same direction and in accordance with the plans of our Western partners, everything was fine at first, then it got more tense, and now it has become even worse. As soon as we refused to fulfill the conditions and play by the prescribed rules, we immediately turned into outcasts. And then – “let’s cancel Russia, cut off the oxygen, tear the economy apart.” The departure of companies, many of which have production in the country, is also part of the plan.
Another thing is that many “ran” from the country on the principle of “running, dropping slippers.” Like the same McDonald’s, which from the very beginning of the announcement of leaving Russia avoided harsh statements, fulfilled all labor agreements and frankly winked, hinting at a return. And so it happened. Yes, we were not accepted on a full-fledged basis into the global club, but we were included in the production chain, pulling out part of which it is impossible to keep the entire structure intact. We suffer from this, and so do they.
So why not rejoice that all the sanctions in spite of the “Mac” again with us? And it’s not about sandwiches with a cutlet (thank God, there are already a lot of them and different ones) and fried potatoes. For example, I haven’t been to McDuck for 20 years and I don’t intend to. Economic practicality won over political hysteria and pressure, hundreds of thousands of jobs were saved. The return of Mac, albeit under a different guise, is a good demonstration that their sanctions, fortunately, are full of holes. And for the younger generation, which grew up on global “values”, the preservation of the usual attributes of consumption is a good proof of stability. So let’s not judge the creators strictly, they were clearly in a hurry. But “Mac” is ours.
The author is a journalist, columnist for the Izvestia newspaper
The position of the editors may not coincide with the opinion of the author