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MCDONALD’S GETS SMALL-FRY PR AT OPENING

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The vice chairman of McDonald's-Moscow plied her with burgers. The world's major networks begged her to take a bite. But all Russia's first lady managed was a reluctant nibble of a cold french fry.

"Errr . . . it's very tasty," said Naina Yeltsin, wife of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and the star attraction at Saturday's opening of McDonald's third hamburger joint in downtown Moscow.George Cohon, vice chairman of the McDonald's joint venture with Moscow City Council, which plans to open as many as 20 restaurants in the Russian capital, was visibly disappointed by his celebrity guest's sudden loss of appetite.

After all, when Yeltsin himself dropped by at the opening of the company's second Moscow branch last month, the president claimed his young grandson washed cars in his spare time to earn enough money for a Big Mac.

Not content with leaving a juicy cheeseburger untouched, Naina even managed to destroy the effect of that heartwarming anecdote. "Grandpa was exaggerating," she said. Cohon fumed silently.

Like many Russian grandmothers these days, Naina Yeltsin then went on to complain about prices. When asked if her grandchild might spend all his time hanging out at McDonald's now there were three outlets in Moscow, her answer was quick in coming. "No way. It's too expensive."

"Anyway, you can't wean Russian children off good old Russian cooking," she added.

Cohon handed Naina Yeltsin a check for 50 million rubles as a donation for the Moscow Institute for Child Oncology.