It’s difficult to miss the irony when you spot the smiling face of Colonel Sanders beckoning you in for fried chicken beneath a dramatic Soviet mural. At one of Minsk’s ever-expanding KFC franchises, communism and capitalism collide in a confusing contrast of heroic sculptures and crispy fried chicken.
This is the most dramatic of Minsk’s KFC outlets, just one of many fast-food chains that crept into the Belarusian market as the country began to emerge from isolation in the last few years. KFC first set up business in Belarus in 2015, while the Soviet sculpture that sits above the fried chicken shop was carved in the 1960s.
The sculpture, designed in the style of Socialist Realism that was popular across the Soviet Union at the time, is named “Solidarity” and was created by the sculptor Anatol Yafimovich Arcimovich. The KFC was designed in the style of countless other KFCs that you’ll find across the world, from the United States to China, with the distinctive red colors of the Colonel’s enduring brand filling in for the red of socialism.
Perhaps this is how the Cold War was always meant to end, as the workers of the world unite to dine on bargain buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The reality is less idealistic, but this Soviet-style KFC in Minsk is still definitely a measure of change in the Belarusian capital.
Minsk suffered immeasurable damage during the fierce fighting of World War II, but once the German army had been beaten back, Minsk was honored as a Hero City and was rebuilt and restyled into a Soviet model city, on the express orders of Joseph Stalin. The wide boulevards and elaborate murals and sculptures are a lasting relic of the Socialist era, while the fast-food chains and Western brands mark the turning point toward capitalism.
Whether you’re a fan of the Colonel’s fried chicken or not, there’s no doubt that this is one of the most striking KFCs in the world. In fact, it’s probably the most Soviet KFC in the world.