McDonald’s is selling off its entire portfolio of restaurants in Russia. The news was broken in a company-wide email from CEO Chris Kempczinski.

The email starts by focusing on the history that McDonald’s has had in Russia, the hope that it started with, and the hope that is now lost as Russia persists in its efforts to obtain Ukraine.

Credit: Ekaterina Kuzmina

After some reflection on the good that McDonald’s has done in Russia over the last 30 years, Kempczinski explains the basis of the decision.

He says he first asked himself four questions, “Are we legally allowed to operate in the country? Do we have the freedom to operate the business and meet the needs of our customers and crew unimpeded? Is our presence in the market brand-enhancing to our global operations? And does it make good business sense?”. Unfortunately, the answer, he says, is no to all four.

He then asked a fifth, more important question, “does it align with our values?”.  The answer to that, he said, is more complicated, but still answerable. It does not.  The massive humanitarian crisis is one reason pulling out cannot be ignored. But, more disheartening, the hope that the Golden Arches will go as far in representing better days as they did 30 years ago cannot be imagined.

Kempczinski ends the email with his own hope that an unknown future will find McDonald’s back in Russia.