When Mikhail Gorbachev starred in a TV commercial for Pizza Hut

Mikhail Gorbachev and his granddaughter in Pizza Hut commercial. WTN/AFP

VIDEO – Now deceased, the Soviet leader appeared in several campaigns for Western brands to fund his foundation.

Those close to him advised against these appearances, but Mikhail Gorbachev needed, he explained, to raise money for his foundation. In the years following the fall of the Soviet Union, the former leader starred in several ad campaigns for Western brands. His most memorable appearance? A Pizza Hut ad that aired internationally in January 1998 but not in Russia.

The then 66-year-old former president crosses Red Square with his granddaughter Anastasia Virganskaya to enter a restaurant of the American brand. Sitting at an adjoining table, a family recognizes him and hotly debates his political heritage – the father is played by Richard Marner, from the sitcom Hello? Hello. An argument ends up bringing them to agreement: Gorbachev deserves all the honors for having “brought Pizza Hut to Russia”. The customers then rise and toast him. The restaurant opened in 1990 in the capital, a few months after the first McDonald’s.

According to the New York Times , Mikhail Gorbachev would have received a million dollars to participate in this sequence. He confided that his foundation dedicated to political science and economics was then short of money, and that he had refused many proposals. “I said to myself that food was a subject that concerned everyone (…) I receive no state support for my foundation, unlike what happens in Germany or France”detailed the one who had also participated in an advertisement for Apple, in Germany precisely.

Many years later, in 2007, Mikhail Gorbachev appeared in a new campaign, signed Louis Vuitton. In the back of a car driving through Berlin, the Russian was looking through the window of the vehicle at the remains of the Wall, a bag from the luxury brand by his side…

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