Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday.
When the Soviet Union ended in 1991, a spate of American businesses entered Russia.
In 1997, while an economic transition was underway, Gorbachev filmed an iconic Pizza Hut ad.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev brought the people of Russia a nice, hot pizza from Pizza Hut — despite his wife's objections.
Gorbachev, who was the last leader of the Soviet Union before it formally dissolved in 1991, died at 91 years old on Tuesday, according to Russian media.
Years after the fall of the Soviet Union, as Russia underwent a chaotic economic transition from communism, Gorbachev starred in a 1997 Pizza Hut commercial as Russia opened up to American franchise businesses. According to Foreign Policy, the ad costed millions of dollars to produce and Gorbachev needed the cash at the time.
Gorbachev had a clause in his contract that he would not eat the pizza in the commercial, according to the Foreign Policy report. The ad has since been turned into an Internet meme and included in course material for universities, used to illustrate global economic fluctuations post-Soviet Union.
According to Foreign Policy, Gorbachev defended his participation in the ad from critics including his wife, saying "pizza is for everyone."
"It's not only consumption," the Russian leader said. "It's also socializing."
The ad features Russians seated at a Pizza Hut discussing politics. They notice Gorbachev in the corner in the room and talk about his legacy over the meal.
"Because of him, we have economic confusion!" one critic says in the ad.
"Because of him, we have opportunity!" one supporter responds.
"Because of him, we have political instability," the first man adds.
"Because of him, we have many things ... like Pizza Hut," an elderly lady replied, as the three say, "Hail to Gorbachev!"
"Sometimes nothing brings people together like a nice hot pizza from Pizza Hut," the narrator says in the ad.
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