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McDonald's growing in Russia

MOSCOW — McDonald’s will expand by 45 outlets in Russia by the end of this year, CEO James Skinner said Monday as the company marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first landmark restaurant under Soviet rule in 1990.

The expansion will bring the number of McDonald’s in Russia to 290.

“Russia is doing so well, we have chosen Russia as one of the top countries for reinvestment of capital in 2010,” Skinner told reporters.

Skinner was visiting Moscow to celebrate McDonald’s entry into the Soviet Union, which was then opening up to the capitalist west. The first outlet in the country opened on Moscow’s Pushkin Square on Jan. 31, 1990 after 14 years of negotiations.

The Pushkin Square McDonald’s launched formal anniversary celebrations on Sunday with Russian folk songs and a buy-one, get-one free deal on burgers.

The 1990 opening attracted thousands of Russians who stood in long lines. The Pushkin Square McDonald’s is still the busiest in the world, company officials said.

The company now runs restaurants in 60 Russian cities, serving more than 900,000 customers every day, and plans to spend $135 million on its expansion there this year.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. posted a $1.2 billion profit in the fourth quarter 2009, 23 percent more than a year earlier, as the company continues to weather the downturn better than most of its competitors.

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