Putin-Approved Burger Joint Replaces McDonald's In Crimea

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Mother Russia is really looking to put its mark on all things Crimea, from dolphins to cheeseburgers. Where once stood a McDonald's in the hijacked Ukrainian territory will now be a RusBurger, home of the not-so-famous Czar Cheeseburger. When Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea this spring, McDonald's decided it was time to head out of the area, where they had three burger joints. 

RusBurger plans to open this month in Sevastopol, at the previous site of the Prospekt Nakhimova Street McDonald's. Georgy Aslanyan, RusBurger's head of development, said the company is planning further expansion in Crimea, but did not confirm if they would take over McDonald's other two abandoned locations. 

Right now, RusBurger has about a dozen restaurants in Russia. Their slogan is "Taste of Russia" (which is probably not the best slogan.) Their signature items are the Czar Cheeseburger and the Bogatyr sandwich. Bogatyrs are large, strong men who make excellent warriors, and a big part of Russian literature and folklore. RusBurgers don't serve soda: instead, they opt for kampot, a pear lemonade. 

RusBurger claims, in a presentation on their website, that they use only fresh ingredients, all natural products, and that their burger patties are never frozen. They denounce Western fast food (a.k.a. McDonald's) as a poor excuse for a burger, but I would beg to differ.

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The last Ukrainian McDonald's I visited, in Kiev, was actually quite delicious. There was a wait, but that's because they made the burgers to order. My McDouble almost looked like the picture of the burger in their ads. That's about as edible as McDonald's could ever hope to be. They also served speciality ketchup and mayo, and though you had to pay extra, it was worth it. (We Ukrainians are a mayo loving people.) So while RusBurger might be all natural, Crimeans were probably already enjoying their fast food burger experience just fine before Russia had to come in and ruin it. 

Check out their pretty weird burger promo:

On the other hand, at least Russian and Crimean children won't have to deal with the creepy new "Happy" logo for Happy Meals. Instead, they'll be greeted by this mustached mascot and his full spandex outfit:

Seriously, fast food joints need to start focus grouping their mascots

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.