Queries rise over Russian consumer behaviour towards American brands
"Russia has wonderful cuisine," Russian President Valdimir Putin has declared, citing Ossetia pies among the national dishes that could compete with Big Macs and fries in the nation's bid to create a homegrown fast food name to rival McDonald's.
Putin's case against McDonald's, despite being tongue in cheek, actually amounted to the first call for a boycott of Western brands. It begs the question – could Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and European fashion labels be next?
Ksenia Bugrina, 22, widened her green eyes at the question as she waited to try on jeans in one of Moscow's 23 Zara stores: "Why wouldn't we want European clothes?"
McDonald's recently provoked public queries by saying that it was closing all three of its locations in Crimea, which Russia annexed last month after a controversial referendum. There has been talk of all the chain's restaurants to be shut down throughout Russia.
A recent poll earlier by the independent Levada Center found that 61% of Russians now have a "bad" or "very bad" view of the U.S., compared to 44% in January. But so far, such feelings haven't translated to buying clothes, an industry for which more than 80% of which are imported. The news comes in a week where fashion imports to, and expansion within the Middle East region is looking particularly healthy.