On January 31, 1990, the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain opened its first franchise in Moscow, Russia, then the capital of the Soviet Union. Customers waited in line for hours to get a taste of an American hamburger—a “Bolshoi Mac.” The appearance of this notorious symbol of capitalism and its enthusiastic reception were signs that times were changing in the communist Soviet Union.

The opening of the Moscow McDonald’s is an example of globalization. Globalization is a process of exchanging ideas and popular culture around the world. Along with the fall of the Berlin Wall a year earlier, the opening of an American restaurant in the capital of the United States’ rival superpower was recognized as an indication of the weakening of the Soviet Union’s power and influence.

Berlin Wall
Noun

(1961-1989) barrier erected by East Germany that divided the city of Berlin into halves controlled by East Germany and West Germany.

Noun

city where a region's government is located.

capitalism
Noun

economic system where the free exchange of goods and services is controlled by individuals and groups, not the state.

communist economy
Noun

system where the distribution of goods and services, as well as prices, are largely determined by the government. Also called a managed economy.

enthusiastic
Adjective

excited.

Noun

connection of different parts of the world resulting in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.

indication
Noun

hint or signal.

influence
Verb

to encourage or persuade a person or organization to act a certain way.

popular culture
Noun

goods, services, ideas, and patterns of their use in a population.

recognize
Verb

to identify or acknowledge.

Soviet Union
Noun

(1922-1991) large northern Eurasian nation that had a communist government. Also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.

superpower
Noun

extremely powerful nation or country.