McDonald's has invested about $5m into building the three Minsk restaurants. It plans to open four more in the nation next year and a total of 25 by the end of the century.
Many foreign investors have been driven away from Belarus since Alexander Lukashenko was elected president in 1994. There have been few economic reforms implemented to revive the desperately sagging Soviet-era economy. Last month in a referendum Lukashenko's term was extended until 2001. He has sought reunification with Russia and advocates the revival of the Soviet Union. He is anti- West and has accused the U.S. and other Western governments of trying to orchestrate his overthrow.
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