Is McDonald’s supporting Russia’s war?

Does going to McDonald’s here in America mean that you are supporting Russia’s war of aggression? The restaurant chain has been under a lot of pressure to close its business in Russia, but has it?

The answer is yes and no to both questions. After considerable pressure from activists supporting Ukraine, McDonald’s leadership made the decision to temporarily close their company restaurants in Russia, but they still are servicing their franchised restaurants. Additionally, the corporation is still paying its 62,000 employees instead of laying them off until the war is over. This is costing McDonald’s about $50,000,000 monthly on top of the $100,000,000 of food that is spoiling in their restaurant back rooms.

Of course, this is a big sacrifice, but here is my beef: McDonald’s is still supporting Russia by continuing to pay taxes to the Russian government by paying employees not to come to work. This may not sound like much, but assuming the average employee pays a 13% income tax on their earnings, we can safely say that McDonald’s at its bare minimum is supporting Russia’s war of aggression to the tune of 6.5 million dollars a month.

During the last financial quarter, McDonald’s earnings were down 1.1 billion dollars. So why wouldn’t McDonald’s simply lay off their employees and stop taking the economic bath? Because McDonald’s leadership is betting this war will not last long and they will be able to return to business in Russia again to make gobs of money. Even after the atrocities that have taken place and continue to take place throughout Ukraine, McDonald’s continues to service its franchises and pay employees.

To many, this seems like a good humanitarian thing to do… but nothing could be further from the truth. Aside from the question of taxes, as long as ordinary Russians do not feel an economic pinch, they will continue to follow the party line and stand behind Putin in his war of aggression. Putin may understand the politics of power, but the Russian people understand the politics of food.

To its credit, the company is also paying its Ukrainian employees who aren’t able to work because of the war and it has also helped feed some people and contributed five million to relief funds. Of course, as long as they are supporting the Russians so heavily, it might be better for them to consider how many cluster bombs Russia can buy for six and a half million monthly dollars.

Update: On May 16th, McDonald’s announced their intention to exit the Russian market. On May 19th, they announced the sale agreement of their Russian business. This May 20th article on the subject by CNBC provides good background on the subject. Soon, people all over the world will be able to visit McDonald’s again with their children, knowing that any red they see on their hands is ketchup and not the blood of innocent Ukrainians.

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