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Chaotic Scenes From the First McDonald's to Open in Russia

 Under the right set of circumstances, even the simplest and most commonplace things can become extraordinarily symbolic events. One such example was the opening of the first-ever McDonald's restaurant in Russia, way back in 1990. Keep scrolling to see just how chaotic the streets of Moscow were that day:

 

McDonald's Russia
At the time of its construction, the McDonald's in Moscow was the largest one in the world.

McDonald's Russia
The venue came with an incredible 900-person seating capacity.

McDonald's Russia
A whopping 35,000 people applied for a chance to work at this internationally recognized restaurant.

McDonald's Russia
In the end, approximately 600 members of staff were given employment.

McDonald's Russia
Soviet officials had actually been discussing bringing McDonald's to Russia since 1976.

McDonald's Russia
The appearance of this infamous symbol of capitalism was certainly a sign that things were changing in the Soviet Union.

McDonald's Russia
Restaurant owners expected to serve around a thousand people that day, but a staggering queue of over 5,000 people had formed before the restaurant had even opened!
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These queues got progressively longer as summer came and went since people were flocking to Moscow from cities all over Russia just to get their hands on a famous American hamburger.

McDonald's Russia
According to one visitor, "We stood under the melting sun for around eight hours.”
McDonald's Russia
“That wasn’t so much of a problem as we were used to standing in lines for days just to get our monthly ration of sugar and tea.”
McDonald's Russia
“Once inside we were blown away by the number of young cashiers behind the huge counter, smiling, moving like bees, serving one meal after another.”
McDonald's Russia
“Nothing like our fat old ladies in white gowns sitting in front of empty shelves, pyramids of dusty canned food as window dressing.”
McDonald's Russia
“I still remember how insanely huge the milkshake looked and I didn’t know how to hold a Big Mac with my tiny hands.”
McDonald's Russia
This restaurant was opened as part of a joint venture between the Moscow city council and the McDonald's of Canada.
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It had been in the pipeline ever since the ’76 Summer Olympics in Montreal, where Soviet officials met George Cohon, founder and CEO of McDonald’s Canada.
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“I’m particularly proud of the people story behind the first opening, both from Canada and Russia, learning from each other and working as one team,” said Cohon.
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“This is a story about cooperation between nations."

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“And it is also a story about the Soviet who saw a sign outside reading ‘Rubles Only’ – and who said to me, ‘This is my restaurant'.”
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Many VIPs were present at the opening night.

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One of them was Boris Yeltsin, who later went on to become Russia's first president.
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At the time, Russia was a country where the average salary was approximately 150 rubles a month.
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That's why a 'Big Mak' sold for 3.75 rubles.
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People just couldn't get enough!
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A grand total of more than 30,000 hungry customers managed to get through their doors on their very first day.
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At the time, this was a world record for the number of McDonald's customers served in a single day.
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Today, there are 649 McDonald's restaurants spread across more than a hundred Russian cities.
McDonald's Russia

BONUS: Footage From That Pivotal Day

Source 

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