Miratorg (Мираторг) is Russia’s leading meat producer and supplier. It is rapidly also becoming one of Russia’s most visible brands, with fairly heavy advertising campaigns, banded stores and even restaurants, and increasingly wide distribution in Russian supermarkets.

Though it was founded in 1995, a period when Russian agriculture suffered from the collapse of collectivized and state farming as well as multiple economic collapses, Miratorg utilized technology, imported foreign know-how, state support, a vertically-structured business model that controls just about everything from feed to burger. In this way, Miratorg has rapidly grown into one of Russia’s largest agricultural concerns and can claim to have founded Russia’s first modern beef industry. 

Today, Miratorg dominates the Russian pork market with 11.5% of market share and, with over 450,000 heads, also claims the largest herd of Black Angus cows in the world. It wasn’t long ago that a good steak in Russia would have been imported from halfway across the world – the US, Australia, or Argentina. Miratorg is now nearly single-handedly changing that.

Most of Miratorg’s agricultural activities are centered in the Bryansk and Belgorod regions where they administrate crops, beef, poultry, processing, frozen meal production, and distribution. In line with state guidelines, Miratorg produces all its meat without GMO’s, growth hormones, or antibiotics. Their distribution also largely prefers fresh or refrigerated meat, rather than any freezing.

Russia’s Food Security doctrine, which calls for self-sufficiency in basic food production by 2020, subsidized Miratorg’s cattle venture. In 2010, the company imported the first generations of Black Angus from the United States and Australia, along with twelve cowboys to teach the Russian greenhorns how to safely manage their new herds. Today, 33 of Miratorg’s 63 farms are dedicated to cattle, and they’re expected to boast one million heads by 2020. The company has benefited from Russia’s restrictions on US and European agricultural imports, which expanded the market for domestic food production – including meat.

Miratorg now has also launched a chain of restaurants known as Burger & Fries (Бургер & Фрайс) to complete their control of all aspects of beef production and sales. Rather than standalone restaurants, Burger & Fries operate inside Miratorg branded supermarkets and butcheries. Burgers there cost between 160 – 380 rubles ($2.75 – 6.50). There are currently eight locations in the Moscow metropolitan area, as well as one in the Bryansk production facility. In a hat-tip to their roots, their most popular burgers are named the “Tired Cowboy,” “Rodeo,” and “Large Bryanksy.”

 

An ad for Miratorg’s Black Angus products:

 

An (English language) glimpse into factory production:

 

And a short interview with an American cowboy in Russia:

Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.