By Andrew Jose  March 20, 2022 at 1:36pm

As American fast-food chains disengage from the Russian market, Russian business people are apparently developing their own indigenous McDonald’s ripoff.

“Uncle Vanya,” as the Russian restaurant’s name goes, features a logo similar to McDonald’s, a copy of the logo attached to a trademark filing the chain’s proprietors submitted to the Russian government March 12 shows, according to Business Insider.

The color scheme appears very similar, if not precisely the same, as McDonald’s red and yellow. The logo features the letter ‘В’ from the Cyrillic alphabet, which has a similar pronunciation as ‘V’ in English. Below that is the name “Uncle Vanya” spelled out in Cyrillic.

Trademark squatting has begun in Russia.

On March 12th, a trademark application was filed for the McDonald’s logo with the words “Uncle Vanya.”

The Russian State Duma had earlier suggested that Russia would replace all McDonald’s with “Uncle Vanya’s.”

h/t @Oh_89 #McDonalds

— Josh Gerben (@JoshGerben) March 16, 2022

According to the New York Post, the “application appeared online after Russian officials indicated they remove patent protections for companies linked to countries deemed hostile to Russia — a response to crippling international sanctions and a mass exodus of Western companies in response to the Ukraine invasion.”

So, in a world where China has established a global, unsavory reputation for violating protections for intellectual property (a reputation the Trump administration tried to do something about), Russia is making a new name for itself as well — and the “Uncle Vanya’s” logo is a case in point.

When one observes the curves of the “B” logotype, the ripoff is clear. The arches of the letter as they appear in the logotype resemble McDonald’s if one would flip McDonald’s arches 90 degrees to the right and seal the open space under the curves with a bar.

McDonald’s announced in a March 8 Twitter post that it will be “temporarily closing all restaurants and pausing all operations in Russia.”

Do you support businesses pulling out of Russia?

Company CEO Chris Kempczinski in a news release said the restaurant chain was doing so to “join the world in condemning aggression and violence” by Russia, which has created a major humanitarian crisis in Ukraine through its invasion of the country.

McDonald’s wasn’t the only major fast-food chain to suspend operations in Russia, though it was the first, according to Business Insider.

Other brands that followed McDonald’s lead included Starbucks, Papa John’s, KFC, and Burger King, according to Business Insider.

As soon as the closure was announced, many Russians rushed to their nearest McDonald’s to grab their favorite meals before they disappeared.

One Russian fan of McDonald’s chained himself to a Moscow franchise location to protest its closure, the Business Insider reported.

“They don’t have the right to close down,” said Luka Safronov-Zatravkin, a Russian pianist, according to the outlet while chained.

He was reportedly chained to a McDonald’s in Moscow’s Pushkin Square.

Lukas Safranov, son of the famous artist Nikas Safranov, chained himself to a McDonald’s in Moscow saying “they fed us this food for 30 years (…) and now they are leaving us. The sanctions are depriving me of the food that I have eaten all my life”.

— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 13, 2022

Safronov-Zatravkin, according to the outlet, shouted that McDonald’s “closing down is an act of hostility against me and my fellow citizens.”

A social media user posted a picture of a refrigerator in Russia stuffed with hoarded McDonald’s sandwiches, the New York Post reported.

Following news of McDonald’s temporary closures, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin said Russian restaurants must take over McDonald’s sites, The Washington Post reported

“They announced they are closing. Well, OK, close. But tomorrow in those locations we should have not McDonald’s, but Uncle Vanya’s,” Volodin said, according to the outlet.

“Jobs must be preserved and prices reduced.”

Andrew Jose is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose

Andrew Jose is a journalist covering security, politics, and foreign policy, among other beats. Speak to Andrew securely via [email protected] Follow Andrew on Twitter: @realAndrewJose


Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

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