MOSCOW, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Muscovites welcomed the Krispy Kreme doughnut this week with sugary salutations, as patrons praised the first franchise store to open in Russia.
"Russians are not opposed to what America produces," said Italian-Russian translator Susanna Agababyan, 21, who attended the store's grand opening this week.
"They put something in it. I had the original. It's really tasty," she said.
"Today I tasted this for the first time. And I decided maybe it was worth it," accounting student Mikhail Kiselyov said.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Kiselyov was commenting, specifically, on a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles.
The new doughnut shop, the Post said, was a study in contrasts. The store is nestled on a street in an 866-year-old city between the ominous Kremlin and the headquarters for Russia's secret police, which the Post called "the dreaded Lubyanka."
The shop offered another look at Russian-American relations. On one hand, The New York Times on Thursday published an opinion piece written by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who took America to task for its foreign policy, just the latest in a history of an uneasy peace between the two countries.
On the other hand, The Moscow Times reported 200 people were waiting outside the Krispy Kreme franchise when it opened and that the first through the door, a man identified only as Maxim, had waited 22 hours in line to win a dozen doughnuts a week for a year for free.
"I first tried Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Britain. Then I found out there was going to be one in Moscow. When we found out about the promotion, I was determined to be like Ben, except he spent a day longer than me in line," said Maxim, referring to London resident Benjamin Esterson, who has famously attended more than 20 grand openings of franchises of the 76-year-old chain, which has its headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C.
"It's all about fun. Our main job is to let people have fun. Our consumer culture is such, that when people buy a dozen [doughnuts], they share them with their colleagues and friends," said the store's general director, Nikolai Uvarov.