90s Post Soviet Cultism – Crazy queues form outside the first McDonald’s in Minsk, Belarus circa 1996

In 1996, McDonald’s opened it’s first store in Minsk, Belarus. Following the devastating economic collapse of the Soviet Union, the “Golden Arches” were some of the first foreign firms to venture into the unstable Belarussian economy to set up shop.


“The country’s leader may have just pulled off a constitutional coup, and its economy may be on the brink of collapse, but McDonald’s is betting that nothing will stop the hunger of Belarussians for a good Big Mac.”

(The Moscow Times, 1996)

The video below shows the crazy queues forming outside of McDonalds’ first Minsk store. Reuters reported that some of the craziness was due to the false impression many people had that there would be free food given out. There were also reports of police beating up students outside the restaurant (see link below for more). Sadly police brutality is still commonplace in modern day Belarus under the rule of dictator Lukashenko (who was also the ruler of Belarus when McDonald’s opened up in 1996 – different decade / same shit dictator).



Moscow Times recovered article

Reuter’s video

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