Think only the US can engage in the farce known as "sanctions" (why theater, because until Obama sanctions Gazprom, yeah right... crickets... it is nothing but populist theater)? Think again. Overnight Russia's consumer protection agency, filed a lawsuit in a Moscow court - which clearly has nothing to do with recent geopolitical bickering between the former Cold War enemies - seeking to ban some of McDonald's Corp's burgers along with its milk shakes and ice cream, a court spokeswoman said on Friday.
The reason for the ban: as Reuters reports, a regional branch of the consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor asked the court to declare production and sales of some products illegal due to "inappropriate physical-chemical parameters."
The lawsuit's list of contested products named the fast-food chain's Royal Cheeseburger, Filet-o-Fish, Cheeseburger and Chicken Burger but not its Big Mac burger.
In other words as Gazprom is to Western sanctions of Russia, so the Big Mac is to Russian countersactions of the US. Impair Russian gas flows to Europe (something which Europe would clearly never allow but indulge us in a thought experiment), and Le Big Mac gets it. And yes, Russia is important to very important for MCD's whose recent earnings have already been disappointing even without having to worry about a Russian embargo: The fast-food company operates about 400 restaurants in Russia and sees the country as one of its top seven major markets outside the United States and Canada, according to its 2013 annual report.
More from Reuters:
McDonald's said in a statement it had not received any complaint from the agency and had no information about the lawsuit. It said its food was produced according to methods approved by Russian authorities.
The lawsuit comes three months after the fast-food chain decided to close its restaurants in Crimea, the Ukraine region whose annexation by Russia in March triggered U.S. and European sanctions. At the time, some Russian politicians called for all McDonald's outlets in Russia to be shut. The court will hold a preliminary hearing on Aug. 13 with the key hearing likely to be scheduled for September, she said.
Of course, with the US already sanctioning transactions in Kalashinkov, should Obama want to re-escalate however without going nuclear (or rather nat gas), he just may have to expand the diplomatic "prohibition" to other core Russian staples, such as vodka. It is unclear just which US fast food chain the Kremlin would then "retaliate" against...