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RUB - Russian Rouble



Rouble is currency unit that is used by three countries namely Belarus, Russia and Transnistria. Though, in the past, it was widely in use by other countries as well like Azerbaijan, Armenia, Latvia, Tajikistan and Ukraine but with the downfall of the Soviet Union, all these countries introduced new currencies for themselves. “Kopeks” or “Copecks” serve as the subunit to the currency.

Most important among the rouble denominated currencies is the Russian rouble that is currency of the Russian federation, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has been a Russian currency unit for over a long time but the current rouble was introduced in 1992. Russian rouble is one of the few currencies in the world that does not have an official currency symbol, but still, symbols like R and py6 are used in day-to-day operations of exchange. The currency code and the numeric code for the currency as per to the ISO 4217 regulation are RUB and 643. The Russian Federation is one of the world’s largest market economies. By nominal GDP, Russia is ranked as the 10th largest economy in the world (6th largest by Purchasing Power Parity).

For more than 500 years, rouble has been serving as the currency of Russia. Historical sources suggest that rouble appeared in the city Novgorod where it was used to refer to Novgorod grivna that looks much like silver. Since the 15th century, rouble was used for payments as weight of grivna was assumed to be the common standard weight of that time. The popularity of rouble as a mean of exchange spread even outside the boundaries of the country. During the 16th century, rouble coins began production for the exchange in daily operations and rouble no longer meant a bar of silver since then. In 1534, the monetary system in the country was combined and rouble continued as the official monetary unit. The state took the purchase of silver in it’s own hands in 1648 and banned all private dealings in silver. Minting of rouble coins in every town and state was stopped and were minted only in Moscow.

In 1710, rouble, for the first time, was divided into 100 kopeks. Its value was standardized by Peter I @ 28 grams of silver. The coins were made from silver at that time usually but the higher denominations were also minted using gold and platinum. The first gold rouble was introduced in 1897 but the value of the currency was revalued three times during the First World War. The second official version of rouble came out only in banknotes after the World War I in 1922 and it was valued at 1 new rouble = 10000 old roubles. In 1923, again a need was felt to revalue the currency and that was done @ 100 to 1 and only the banknotes were circulated and not the coins. The rouble was then re-revalued again in 1924 because the gold dollar was introduced against 50000 roubles of the 1923 issue. This time coinage was also issued in the currency unlike the previous three issues. This version of the currency was continued for comparatively a longer span of time and no revaluation was done until in 1947 after World War II when the money in circulation was reduced.

Until 1937, rouble adopted a dollar base @ 1 US dollar = 5 roubles and 30 kopeks but in 1950, again it was valued against gold standards. The modern rouble that is still in circulation in 1993 when USSR got split up and it no longer uses the gold standard for valuation.

Currency Profile

The word rouble is taken up from a Russian verb "rubit" that means, "to chop" and was used for a chopped off piece of silver ingot in the previous times. The currency is also known for a number of nicknames it had, almost each face value had a different nickname attached to it in Russian language such as 2 kopek coin had nicknames like "semishnik", "dvushka" or "grosh", 3 kopek coin’s name was "altyn", 5 kopek coin was known by name "pyatak", 10 kopek coin as "grivennik", 15 kopek coin as "pyatialtynny", 20 kopek coin had nickname "dvugrivenny" and 50 kopek coin was known by the name "poltina". The banknotes also, were given individual names with which they were known in the daily usage, most popular among them was "chervonet", name of 10 roubles either in coin or banknote.

Russia is the second largest producer of oil in the world after Saudi Arabia. The high amount of exports of oil contribute maximum to the revenues of the economy especially foreign exchange. Natural gasoline, timber, and other precious metals represent ~80% of exported goods. Agricultural products are also a major export & Russia is the third largest grain exporter globally, behind only the United States and European Union.

Russian federation retained the currency of the Soviet Union i.e. rouble after the latter got split up in 1991. The Bank of Russia has been taking care of the flow and circulation of the currency in the country as the central bank. Goznak is managing the printing and minting function since 1919, the year it was established. The rouble banknotes, like most of the currencies in the world, wasn’t a portrait series when the first issue of modern rouble was made in 1993. Even in the past, portraits were a part of the Russian currency banknotes but the new Russian rouble was lacking them when it was launched. The bank note denominations that are in currently include 7 face values that are 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 roubles. These notes can be differentiated according to their colors as they are all based on different color patterns.

The 5-rouble note is no more issued and has been replaced by the 5-rouble coin but is still a legal tender. The coinage is also issued in 7 denominations namely 1, 5, 10 and 50 kopek, 1 rouble, 2 and 5 roubles. The coins have their respective engraved values on the reverse sides. The obverse sides of the coins having the face values below 1 rouble i.e. 1, 5, 10 and 50-kopeck coins have an engraved image of St. George, the warrior riding on horse and killing a serpent with a spear. The coins having 1 rouble or more face values depict a 2-headed eagle i.e. the emblem of the Bank of Russia on their front sides. The smaller values of 1, 5, 10 kopek are now rarely used. In 1999, a 1 rouble commemorative coin was also launched showing an embossed image of the poet Aleksander Pushkin on the obverse and the profile of the poet on the reverse side.

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