Russia Does Not Even Try to Disguise McDonald’s Clone

It's small potatoes on the atrocities front, but come on

McDonald's sign
McDonald's has closed in Russia, leaving room for competitors.
Justin Sullivan via Getty

McDonald’s is one of a number of companies to back out of Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, but a local business is gearing up to fill the Big Mac sized hole in the Russian fast-food market. 

Russian brand Uncle Vanya’s (so named for the play by Anton Chekhov) has filed a trademark patent with a logo that bears a striking similarity to the golden arches, made up of two characters of the Russian alphabet. 

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has been imitated: the internet is filled with images of “Hotdognalds” or “MashDonald’s” locations from around the world, but this knock-off might be one of the first to be state-approved. The speaker of Russia’s lower house in parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, said  last week that Russian brands should take over McDonald’s locations. “Tomorrow in those locations we should have not McDonald’s, but Uncle Vanya’s,” he said. “Jobs must be preserved and prices reduced.”

McDonald’s opened in Russia shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990, drawing huge crowds and a loyal fanbase in both Russia and Ukraine who saw the brand’s entrance as a sign of Westernization. Of the over 200 billion dollars in revenue McDonald’s made last year, nine percent was from Russia and Ukraine. The company has promised to keep paying full salaries to workers in both countries during the conflict. The brand is uncertain about when they’ll be able to reopen. 

There is no sector of business in Russia that hasn’t been affected by the sanctions and ongoing conflict. Brands like Canada Goose and Levi’s have suspended shipping to Russia, while companies like Spotify and Formula One have ceased all operations in the country. Whether we’ll be seeing a wave of Russian duplicate businesses is yet to be determined. 

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