UPDATE 3-After Russia targets McDonald's, businesses wonder who's next

Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:51am EDT
 
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* Food safety watchdog to check McDonald's outlets across Russia

* Businessmen say move is retaliation again Western sanctions

* U.S.-Russia ties soured by Ukraine crisis

* Other Western brands now seen vulnerable (Releads, adds quotes, Branson letter)

By Polina Devitt and Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW, Russia, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it was investigating dozens of McDonald's restaurants, in what many businessmen said was retaliation for Western sanctions over Ukraine they fear could spread to other symbols of Western capitalism.

Russia's food safety watchdog said it was looking at possible breaches of sanitary rules at McDonald's, but many in the business community said it was a reflection of the deterioration in relations between Russia and the West over Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country are fighting against government forces.

"Obviously, it's driven by the political issues surrounding Ukraine," said Alexis Rodzianko, President and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.

"The question on my mind is: Is this going to be a knock on the door, or is this going to be the beginning of a campaign?"   Continued...