(Adds detail, quote)
MOSCOW Aug 23 Russian authorities are not
planning to close the McDonald's chain in the country,
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted saying on
Saturday, after inspectors visited a number of restaurants run
by the fast-food company.
"No one is talking about it at all (a ban on McDonald's in
Russia)," Dvorkovich was quoted saying by Itar-Tass news agency,
in what could be a reprieve for the food chain, which considers
Russia as one of its top markets.
Russia's food safety watchdog has launched inspections of
McDonald's restaurants across the country against the backdrop
of a standoff with the West over the Ukraine crisis and has
closed three of its outlets in Moscow, citing breaches of
The outlets were closed as Russia introduced a one-year
embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the
United States, the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway, in
retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's
involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
A symbol of U.S. capitalism, McDonald's operates 440
restaurants in Russia and considers the country one of its top
seven markets outside the United States and Canada, according to
its 2013 annual report.
It opened its first restaurant in Russia, on a main Moscow
thoroughfare, in 1990, just before the collapse of the Soviet
Union. The outlet was one of the three restaurants that were
closed by the authorities earlier this week.
The food safety watchdog has made coordinated inspections of
McDonald's restaurants in many Russian regions, including in
central Russia, Moscow and the Urals.
"It has just happened that the inspections were completed
at the same time," Dvorkovich said, according to the report.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Christian Lowe and