American Fast Food as Culture and Politics: The Introduction of Pepsi and McDonald's into the USSR
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This thesis explores how and why two capitalistic American corporations were granted access to the Soviet Union's internal market. For decades communist leadership railed against what they termed "cheap bourgeois consumption," yet in 1972 Pepsi-Cola became the first officially sanctioned American consumer product in the USSR. Eighteen years later, McDonald's would become the first American restaurant to open in the Soviet Union. Both companies became deeply involved in Cold War politics and diplomacy, with high-ranking officials from both sides taking part in the negotiations to bring these companies into the country. These two case studies shed light on a seldom-covered aspect of American-Soviet economic relations and cultural exchange.