Last president of the USSR before his fall in December 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev died on Tuesday August 30 at the age of 91. Eager to recover money for his foundation, the ex-politician had participated in an advertisement for Pizza Hut after his resignation.
A former leader of the USSR crossing Red Square in Moscow (Russia) to eat at an American restaurant. The image is strong in the context of the long Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union a few years earlier.
In this advertisement, filmed in 1997 and broadcast throughout the world in 1998 (with the exception of the USSR so as not to promote capitalism in the country), Mikhail Gorbachev strolls through the famous Red Square before taking his place in a Pizza Hut.
1997: Mikhail #Gorbachev in a Pizza Hut pub.
2022: Pizza Hut leaves Russia. pic.twitter.com/ou9uBYWqtE
— Andrei VAITOVICH (@andreivaitovich) August 30, 2022
Once in the establishment, the customers already present recognize it and get angry about it. The first protagonist regrets the political and economic situation of the country, while the second evokes the concepts of “freedom”, “hope” and “opportunities” brought about by the fall of the USSR. Finally, an elderly woman, also seated with the two customers, manages to get everyone to agree by welcoming the import of the American brand Pizza Hut into the country.
Pizza Hut’s Russian franchise acquired last June
After announcing last March the cessation of its activities in Russia, Yum! Brands, owner of the Russian Pizza Hut franchise, sold its shares in June 2022 to Noi-M for 300 million rubles, or nearly 5 million euros, according to the Russian economic daily Kommersant relayed by Reuters.
Criticized by those close to him and many Russians for having accepted to shoot in commercials for Western brands in order to replenish the coffers of his foundation, Mikhail Gorbachev was the first former political leader in Russian history to hold a public role after his resignation.
The highest authorities on the planet and the main heads of state paid tribute to him on Wednesday after the announcement of his death. On the other hand, the one sent by the current Russian President Vladimir Putin was more discreet because the last leader of the USSR is considered partly responsible for the collapse of the Soviet empire by many Russian citizens.