McDonald's the American fast food company opens in Moscow where queuing for basic food items is the norm.

GUM department store in the heart of Red Square in Moscow is perhaps the most famous store in the Soviet Union and its 200 shops are a symbol of Soviet consumerism.

Five years into Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's political movement Perestroika, there remains a shortage of consumer goods and long queues for basic food items.

The people are tired, there’s no food in the shops, even soap, there’s no soap in this great rich country, the Communist Party can’t even solve that.

However there is an array of goods in a Beryozka, a special shop open only to foreigners and to Soviet citizens with hard currency to spend. These shops remain out of reach for the majority of Muscovites. One Beryozka worker realises the inequality of the system,

We can only let in the western people with the credit card, I think it's unfair of course, but we can't help it.

The latest symbol of the new consumerism in the Soviet Union is McDonald’s which opened its largest fast food restaurant in the world in Moscow on 31 January 1990.

There is no shortage of people willing to pay a third of a day's salary for hamburger and fries. At any one time there are 1,000 people queuing around Pushkinskaya Square to get into the restaurant. One man interviewed has nothing but praise for McDonald’s quick service and convenience.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 February 1990. The reporter is Charlie Bird.