Soviet ruble

Soviet ruble
советский рубль (in Russian)
Rouble-1961-Paper-1-Obverse.jpg 1 ruble 1988.jpg
Obverse of one-ruble banknote (1961) one-ruble coin (1988)
ISO 4217
Code SUR (for the one of 1961-1991)[1]
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kopek (копейка)
Plural rubli (nom. pl.), rubley (gen. pl.)

 kopek (копейка)

kopeyki (nom. pl.), kopeyek (gen. pl.)
Symbol руб

 kopek (копейка)

Banknotes 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 rubles
Coins 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 50 kopeks, 1, 3, 5, 10 rubles
User(s)  Soviet Union
Central bank State Bank of the Soviet Union
Printer Goznak
Mint Leningrad 1921–1991 (temporarily moved to Krasnokamsk 1941–1946), Moscow 1982–1991
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The Soviet ruble (Russian: рубль; see below for other languages of the USSR) was the currency of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). One ruble was divided into 100 kopeks, (also transliterated as kopecks or copecks Russian: копе́йка, pl. копе́йкиkopeyka, kopeyki). Many of the ruble designs were created by Ivan Dubasov. The production of Soviet rubles was the responsibility of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise, or Goznak, which was in charge of the printing of and materials production for banknotes and the minting of coins in Moscow and Leningrad. In addition to regular currency, some other currency units were used, such as several forms of convertible ruble, transferable ruble, clearing ruble, Vneshtorgbank cheque, etc.; also, several forms of virtual rubles (called “non-cash ruble” or “cachless ruble”: “Безналичный рубль” beznalichny rubl) were used for inter-enterprise accounting and international settlement in the Comecon zone.[2] In 1991, after the breakup of the USSR, the Soviet ruble continued to be used in the post-Soviet states, forming a “ruble zone”, until it was replaced with the Russian ruble by 1993.


  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 Ruble in the Soviet Union
  • 3 Historical Soviet rubles

    • 3.1 First Soviet ruble

      • 3.1.1 Banknotes
    • 3.2 Second Soviet ruble, January 1 – December 31, 1922

      • 3.2.1 Banknotes
    • 3.3 Third Soviet ruble, January 1, 1923 – March 6, 1924

      • 3.3.1 Coins
      • 3.3.2 Banknotes
    • 3.4 Fourth (gold) Soviet ruble, March 7, 1924 – 1947

      • 3.4.1 Coins
      • 3.4.2 Banknotes
    • 3.5 Fifth Soviet ruble, 1947–1961

      • 3.5.1 Banknotes
    • 3.6 Sixth Soviet ruble, 1961–91, the one whose ISO code is SUR

      • 3.6.1 Coins
      • 3.6.2 Banknotes
    • 3.7 Seventh Soviet ruble, 1991 – 1992

      • 3.7.1 Coins
      • 3.7.2 Banknotes
  • 4 Economic role
  • 5 Historical official exchange rates
  • 6 Replacement currencies in the former Soviet republics
  • 7 See also
  • 8 Footnotes
  • 9 External links


The word “ruble” is derived from the Slavic verb рубить, rubit’, i.e., to chop. Historically, “ruble” was a piece of a certain weight chopped off a silver ingot (grivna), hence the name. The word kopek, kopeck, copeck, or kopeyka (in Russian: копейка, kopeyka) is a diminutive form of the Russian kop’yo (копьё)—a spear. The reason for this is that a horseman armed with a spear was stamped on one of the faces of the coin. The word “kopeyka” (in Russian: копейка, kopeyka) is a direct translation of old Lithuanian money “kapa” that bears the same meaning “to chop” in Lithuanian language as does “ruble” in Russian language (for many centuries around 500 000 sq km of contemporary Russia were Lithuanian lands inhabited by Lithuanians and in this region Lithuanian “kapa” was circulating which after annexation of these lands by Muscovites became part of their empire with Lithuanian money that Muscovites in 1722 renamed Russians used as money just with 100 times lower value).

Ruble in the Soviet Union

The Soviet currency had its own name in all Languages of the Soviet Union, often different from its Russian designation. All banknotes had the currency name and their nominal printed in the languages of every Soviet Republic. This naming is preserved in modern Russia; for example: Tatar for ruble and kopek are сум (soom) and тиен (tiyin). The current names of several currencies of Central Asia are simply the local names of the ruble. Finnish last appeared on 1947 banknotes since the Karelo-Finnish SSR was dissolved in 1956.

The name of the currency in the languages of the 15 republics, in the order they appeared in the banknotes:

Language In local language IPA Transcription
ruble kopek ruble kopek
Russian рубль копейка [ˈrʉblʲ] [kɐˈpʲejkə]
Ukrainian карбованець копійка [kɑrboˈβɑnɛtsʲ] [koˈpijkɑ]
Belarusian рубель капейка [ˈru.bɛlʲ] [kaˈpɛjka]
Uzbek сўм тийин [ˈsɵm] [tijin]
Kazakh сом тиын [ˈsu̯ʊm] [ti.ən]
Georgian მანეთი კაპიკი [mɑnɛtʰi] [kʼɑpʼik’i]
Azerbaijani манат гәпик [mɑnɑt] [gæpɪk]
Lithuanian rublis kapeika [ˈrʊbɫɪs] [kɐˈpɛɪ̯ˑkɐ]
Moldovan рублэ/rublă копейкэ/copeică [ˈrublə] [koˈpejkə]
Latvian rublis kapeika [ˈrublis] [kaˈpɛika]
Kyrgyz сом тыйын [ˈsom] [ˈtɯjɯn]
Tajik сӯм тин [ˈsŭm] [ˈtin]
Armenian ռուբլի կոպեկ [ˈrubli] [ˈk.pɛk]
Turkmen манат көпүк [manat] [køpyk]
Estonian rubla kopikas [ˈrublɑ] [kopiˈkɑs]

Note that the scripts for Uzbek, Azerbaijani, and Turkmen have switched from Cyrillic to Latin since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Moldovan has switched to Latin and is once again referred to as Romanian.

These 15 names derive from four roots:

  • Slavic verb рубить, rubit’, “chop”
  • Turkic root som, “pure”
  • Latin monēta, “coin”
  • Old Ruthenian karbuvaty, “carve”

Historical Soviet rubles

First Soviet ruble

The first ruble issued for the Socialist government was a preliminary issue still based on the previous issue of the ruble prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917. They are all in banknote form and started their issue in 1919. At this time other issues were made by the white Russian government and other governing bodies.
Denominations are as follows: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, 50, 60, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 25,000, 50,000, 100,000. Short term treasury certificate were also issued to supplement banknote issue in 1 million, 5 million, 10 million rubles. These issue was printed in various fashions, as inflation crept up the security features were few and some were printed on one side, as was the case for the German inflationary notes.


In 1918, state credit notes were introduced by the R.S.F.S.R. for 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 rubles. These were followed in 1919 by currency notes for 1, 2, 3, 15, 20, 60, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000 rubles. In 1921, currency note denominations of 5, 50, 25,000, 50,000, 100,000, 1,000,000, 5,000,000 and 10,000,000 rubles were added.

Second Soviet ruble, January 1 – December 31, 1922

Silver ruble of 1922

In 1922, the first of several redenominations took place, at a rate of 1 “new” ruble for 10,000 “old” rubles. The chervonets (червонец) was also introduced in 1922. This currency was short-lived, lasting only a full year.


Only state currency notes were issued for this currency, in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 rubles.

Third Soviet ruble, January 1, 1923 – March 6, 1924

A second redenomination took place in 1923, at a rate of 100 to 1. Again, only paper money was issued. During the lifetime of this currency, the first money of the Soviet Union was issued. This currency was short lived, not lasting too long after Vladimir Lenin’s death, but lasting over two months longer than its predecessor.


1924 poltinnik (½-ruble).

The first coinage after the Russian civil war was minted in 1921–1923 with silver coins in denominations of 10, 15, 20 and 50 kopecks and 1 ruble. Gold chervonets were issued in 1923. These coins bore the emblem and legends of the RSFSR (Russian Federated Soviet Socialist Republic) and depicted the famous slogan, “Workers of the world, Unite!”. The 10, 15, and 20 kopecks were minted with a purity of 50% silver while the ruble and half-ruble were minted with a purity of 90% silver. The chervonetz was 90% gold. These coins would continue to circulate after the RSFSR was consolidated into the USSR with other Soviet Republics until the discontinuation of silver coinage in 1931.


As with the previous currency, only state currency notes were issued, in denominations of 50 kopeks, 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 rubles. In early 1924, just before the next redenomination, the first paper money was issued in the name of the USSR, featuring the state emblem with 6 bands around the wheat, representing the languages of the then 4 constituent republics of the Union: Russian SFSR, Transcaucasian SFSR (Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Georgian), Ukrainian SSR and Byelorussian SSR. They were dated 1923 and were in denominations of 10,000, 15,000, and 25,000 rubles.

Fourth (gold) Soviet ruble, March 7, 1924 – 1947

After Joseph Stalin’s consolidation of power following the death of Lenin, he launched a third redenomination in 1924 by introducing the “gold” ruble at a value of 50,000 rubles of the previous issue. This reform also saw the ruble linked to the chervonets, at a value of 10 rubles and put an end to chronic inflation. Coins began to be issued again in 1924, while paper money was issued in rubles for values below 10 rubles and in chervonets for higher denominations.


In 1924, copper coins were introduced in denominations of 1-, 2-, 3 and 5 kopecks, together with new silver 10-, 15 and 20 kopecks, 1 poltinnik (50 kopecks) and 1 ruble. From this issue onward, the coins were minted in the name of the USSR (Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics). The “Workers of the World” slogan was carried forward. However, 1921–1923 coins were allowed to continue circulating. Copper ½-kopeck coins were also introduced in 1925. The copper coins were minted in two types; plain edge and reeded edge, with the plain-edged types being the fewest in number. The silver coins once again had the same silver purity as the previous issues. The 1-ruble coin was only issued in 1924 and production of the poltinnik (50 kopecks) was stopped in 1927, while the ½-kopeck coin ceased to be minted in 1928. Coins of this period were issued in the same sizes as the coins previously used during the Czarist period. In 1926, smaller, aluminium-bronze coins were minted to replace the large copper 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-kopecks coins, but were not released until 1928. The larger coins were then melted down.

A shortage of silver coins had perpetually dogged the Soviet economy in the 1920s and silver was becoming too expensive to use, with much of it needing to be imported. By 1930 the silver coin shortage had become acute and Soviet authorities scapegoated “hoarders” and “exchange speculators” as responsible for the shortages, and confiscatory measures were taken. In 1931, the remaining silver coins were replaced with redesigned cupro-nickel coins depicting a male worker holding up a shield which contained the denominations of each. All silver coins were returned and melted down. In 1935, the reverse of the 10-, 15-, and 20-kopecks coins were redesigned again with a more simple Art Deco inspired design, with the obverse of all denominations also redesigned, having the “Workers of the world, unite!” slogan dropped. The change of the obverse designs did not affect all 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-kopecks coins immediately, as some 1935 issues bore the “Workers of the World” design while some bore the new “CCCP” design. The state emblem also went through a series of changes between 1935 and 1957 as new soviet republics were added or created, this can be noted by the number of “ribbons” wrapped around the wheat sheaves. This coin series remained in circulation during and after the monetary reform of 1947 and was finally discontinued in 1961.

In August 1941, the wartime emergency prompted the minting facilities to be evacuated from the Neva district in Moscow and relocated to Permskaya Oblast as German forces continued to advance Eastward. It only became possible to resume coin production in the autumn of 1942, for one year the country was using coins made before the war. Furthermore, the coins were made of what had suddenly become precious metals – copper and nickel, which were needed for the defense industry. This meant many coins were being produced in only limited quantities, with some denominations being skipped altogether until the crisis finally abated in late 1944. These disruptions led to severe coin shortages in many regions. Limits were put in place on how much change could be carried in coins with limits of 3 rubles for individuals and 10 rubles for vendors to prevent hoarding as coins became increasingly high in demand. Only high inflation and wartime rationing helped ease pressure significantly. In some instances, postage stamps and coupons were being used in place of small denomination coins. It was not until 1947 that there were finally enough coins in circulation to meet economic demand and restrictions could be eased.


In 1924, state currency notes were introduced for 1, 3 and 5 gold rubles (рубль золотом). These circulated alongside the chervonets notes introduced in 1922 by the State Bank in denominations of 1, 3, 5 10 and 25 chervonets. State Treasury notes replaced the state currency notes after 1928. In 1938, new notes were issued for 1, 3 and 5 rubles, dropping the word “gold”.

1938 Series
Image Denomination Obverse Reverse
[1] 1 Ruble Miner
3 Rubles Soldiers
[2] 5 Rubles Pilot
1 Chervonets Lenin
3 Chervonets Lenin
5 Chervonets Lenin
10 Chervonets Lenin

Fifth Soviet ruble, 1947–1961

Following World War II, the Soviet government implemented a confiscatory redenomination of its currency (decreed on December 14, 1947) to reduce the amount of money in circulation. The main purpose of this change was to prevent peasants who had accumulated cash by selling food at wartime prices from using this to buy consumer goods as the postwar recovery took hold.[3] Old rubles were revalued at one tenth of their face value. This mainly affected paper money in the hands of private individuals. Amounts of 3,000 rubles or less in individual bank accounts were not revalued, while salaries remained the same. This revaluation coincided with the end of wartime rationing and efforts to lower prices and curtail inflation, though the effects in some cases actually resulted in higher inflation. Unlike other reforms, this one did not affect coins.


In 1947, State Treasury notes were introduced for denominations of 1-, 3- and 5 rubles, along with State Bank notes for denominations of 10-, 25-, 50 and 100 rubles. The State Bank notes depicted Lenin while the Treasury notes depicted floral artistic designs. All denominations were colored and patterned in a similar fashion to late Czarist notes.

1947 Series
Image Denomination Obverse Reverse
[3] 1 Ruble State Emblem of the Soviet Union
[4] 3 Rubles State Emblem of the Soviet Union
[5] 5 Rubles State Emblem of the Soviet Union
[6] 10 Rubles Vladimir Lenin
[7] 25 Rubles Vladimir Lenin
[8] 50 Rubles Vladimir Lenin
[9] 100 Rubles Vladimir Lenin Moscow Kremlin

Sixth Soviet ruble, 1961–91, the one whose ISO code is SUR

50 kopek type issued 1961-1991.

Two 10-ruble coins introduced in 1978 to commemorate the 1980 Summer Olympics

The 1961 redenomination was a repeat of the 1947 reform, with the same terms applying.[clarification needed] The Soviet ruble of 1961 was formally equal to 0.987412 gram of gold, but the exchange for gold was never available to the general public. This led to a constant exchange rate of 90 kopeks per US Dollar, while there were 35 US dollars to one troy ounce of gold.


The 1958 pattern series: By 1958, plans for a monetary reform were underway and a number of coin pattern designs were being experimented with before implementation. The most notable of these was the 1958 series, in denominations of 1, 2, 3, and 5 kopecks in copper-zinc, and 10, 15, 20, and 50 kopecks and 1, 3, and 5 rubles in copper nickel. These coins all had the same basic design and became the most likely for release. Indeed, they were mass-produced before the plan was scrapped and a majority of them were melted down. During this time, 1957 coins would continue to be restruck off old dies until the new coin series was officially released in 1961. This series is considered the most valuable of Soviet issues due to their scarcity.

1961-style one-ruble coin

On January 1, 1961 the currency was revalued again at a rate of 10:1, but this time a new coinage was introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 3 and 5 kopecks in aluminium-bronze, and 10, 15, 20 and 50 kopecks and 1 ruble in cupro-nickel-zinc. Like previous issues, the front featured the state arms and title while the back depicted date and denomination. The 50-kopeck and 1-ruble coins dated 1961 had plain edges, but starting in 1964, the edges were lettered with the denomination and date. All 1926–1957 coins were then withdrawn from circulation and demonetized, with the majority melted down.

Commemorative coins of the Soviet Union: In 1965, the first circulation commemorative ruble coin was released celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, during this year the first uncirculated mint-coin sets were also released and restrictions on coin collecting were eased. In 1967, a commemorative series of 10-, 15-, 20-, 50-kopeck, and 1-ruble coins was released, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and depicted Lenin and various socialist achievements. The smaller bronze denominations for that year remained unchanged. Many different circulation commemorative 1-ruble coins were also released, as well as a handful of 3 and 5 rubles over the years. Commemorative coins from this period were always slightly larger than general issues, 50 kopecks and 1-ruble coins in particular were larger, while the 1967 series of the small denominations were the same circumference but thicker than general issues. Initially, commemorative rubles were struck in the same alloy as other circulating coins until 1975, when the metallurgic composition was changed to a higher-quality copper-nickel alloy that excluded zinc in the composition.

Starting in 1991 with the final year of the 1961 coin series, both kopeck and ruble coins began depicting the mint marks (М) for Moscow, and (Л) for Leningrad.


Banknotes were issued in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 rubles, with similar colors to the previous series, but this time much smaller in size. The notes again depicted Lenin on the higher denominations and various buildings in Moscow.

1961 Series
Image Value
Obverse Reverse
Rouble-1961-Paper-1-Obverse.jpg Rouble-1961-Paper-1-Reverse.jpg 1 Ruble
Soviet Union-1961-Bill-3-Obverse.jpg Soviet Union-1961-Bill-3-Reverse.jpg 3 Rubles
Soviet Union-1961-Bill-5-Obverse.jpg Soviet Union-1961-Bill-5-Reverse.jpg 5 Rubles
SUR 10 1961 obverse.jpg SUR 10 1961 reverse.jpg 10 Rubles
Soviet Union-1961-Bill-25-Obverse.jpg Soviet Union-1961-Bill-25-Reverse.jpg 25 Rubles
SUR 50 1961 obverse.jpg SUR 50 1961 reverse.jpg 50 Rubles
SUR 100 1961 obverse.jpg SUR 100 1961 reverse.jpg 100 Rubles

Seventh Soviet ruble, 1991 – 1992

The Monetary Reform of 1991, was carried out by Mikhail Gorbachev and was known also as the Pavlov Reform. It was the last of such in the Soviet Union and began on January 22, 1991. Its architect was Minister of Finance Valentin Pavlov, who also became the last prime minister of the Soviet Union. The details of the exchange included a brief period to exchange old rubles for new—for three days from 23 to 25 January (Wednesday to Friday) and with a specific limit of no more than 1,000 rubles per person—the ability to exchange other bills considered in the special commissions to the end of March 1991.


In late 1991, a new coinage was introduced in denominations of 10 and 50 kopeks, and 1, 5 and 10 rubles. The 10-kopeck coin was struck in brass-plated steel, the 50-kopeck coin, and 1- and 5-ruble coins were in cupro-nickel and the 10-ruble coin was bimetallic with an aluminium-bronze centre and a cupro-nickel-zinc ring. The series depicts an image of the Kremlin on the obverse rather than the Soviet state emblem. However, this coin series was extremely short-lived as the Soviet Union ceased to exist only months after its release. It did, however, continue to be used in several former soviet republics including Russia and particularly Tajikistan for a short time after the union had ceased to exist out of necessity.


Banknotes for this ruble were nearly identical in background color and size for all denominations compared to the 1961 series, but included more color and heightened security features. This time, however, new 200-, 500-, and 1,000-ruble notes were introduced along with 1-, 3-, 5-, 10-, 50-, and 100-ruble notes.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, many newly independent republics chose to continue circulating Soviet rubles until the introduction of the new Russian ruble in 1992.

1991 Series
Image Value
Obverse Reverse
SUR 1 1991 F.jpg SUR 1 1991 B.jpg 1 Ruble
SUR 3 1991 F.jpg SUR 3 1991 B.jpg 3 Rubles
SUR 5 1991 F.jpg SUR 5 1991 B.jpg 5 Rubles
SUR 10 1991 F.jpg SUR 10 1991 B.jpg 10 Rubles
SUR 50 1991 F.jpg SUR 50 1991 B.jpg 50 Rubles
SUR 100 1991 F.jpg SUR 100 1991 B.jpg 100 Rubles
SUR 200 1991 F.jpg SUR 200 1991 B.jpg 200 Rubles
SUR 500 1991 F.jpg SUR 500 1991 B.jpg 500 Rubles
SUR 1000 1991 F.jpg SUR 1000 1991 B.jpg 1000 Rubles

Economic role

The Soviet Union ran a planned economy, where the government controlled prices and the exchange of currency. Thus the Soviet ruble did not function like a currency in a market economy, because mechanisms other than currency, such as centrally planned quotas controlled the distribution of goods. Consequently, the ruble did not have the utility of a true currency; instead, it more resembled the scrip issued in a truck system. Soviet citizens could freely purchase a set of products with rubles, but choice was limited. Prices were always political decisions, having no connection to manufacturing cost. For example, bread was cheap and public transport practically free, but there was a shortage of manufactured consumer goods and wages were low, implementing a hidden tax.[4] It was common to hold large savings in rubles in the sberkassa, a kind of a “bank”, because credit was not available. Special rubles used in accounting were not exchangeable to cash, and were effectively different currency units. The currency was not internationally exchangeable and its export was illegal. In bilateral trade, a separate, non-exchangeable “clearing ruble” was used.[5] There were separate shops (Beryozkas) for purchasing goods obtained with hard currencies. However, Soviet citizens could not legally own foreign currency. Thus, if they legally received payment in foreign currency, they were forced to convert it to Vneshposyltorg checks at a rate set by the government. These checks could be spent at a Beryozka. The sudden transformation from a Soviet “non-currency” into a market currency contributed to the economic hardship following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[4][6][7]

Historical official exchange rates

Official exchange rates Soviet ruble of the time per United States dollar:[8]

Date Soviet ruble of the time per USD USD per Soviet ruble of the time
1924-01-01 2.2000 $0.4545
1924-04-01 1.9405 $0.5153
1927-01-01 1.9450 $0.5141
1928-02-01 1.9434 $0.5145
1933-04-01 1.9434 $0.5145
1933-05-01 1.7474 $0.5722
1934-01-01 1.2434 $0.8042
1935-01-01 1.1509 $0.8689
1936-01-01 1.1516 $0.8684
1937-01-01 5.0400 $0.1984
1937-07-19 5.3000 $0.1887
1950-02-01 5.3000 $0.1887
1950-03-01 4.0000 $0.2500
1960-12-01 4.0000 $0.2500
1961-01-01 0.9000 $1.1111
1971-12-01 0.9000 $1.1111
1972-01-01 0.8290 $1.2063
1973-01-01 0.8260 $1.2107
1974-01-01 0.7536 $1.3270
1975-01-01 0.7300 $1.3699
1976-01-01 0.7580 $1.3193
1977-01-01 0.7420 $1.3477
1978-01-01 0.7060 $1.4164
1979-01-01 0.6590 $1.5175
1980-01-03 0.6395 $1.5637
1981-01-01 0.6750 $1.4815
1982-01-01 0.7080 $1.4124
1983-01-13 0.7070 $1.4144
1984-01-01 0.7910 $1.2642
1985-02-28 0.9200 $1.0870
1986-01-01 0.7585 $1.3184
1987-01-01 0.6700 $1.4925
1988-01-06 0.5804 $1.7229
1989-01-04 0.6059 $1.6504
1990-01-03 0.6072 $1.6469
1991-01-02 0.5605 $1.7841
1991-02-13 0.5450 $1.8349
1992-01-01 0.5549 $1.8021

Replacement currencies in the former Soviet republics

Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, local currencies were introduced in the newly independent states. Most of the new economies were weak and hence most of the currencies have undergone significant reforms since their introduction. In the very beginning of the post-Soviet economic transition, it was widely believed by ordinary people and monetary institutions (including the International Monetary Fund) that it was possible to maintain a common currency working for all or at least for some of the former Soviet Union’s countries.[citation needed] The wish to preserve the strong trade relations between former Soviet republics was considered the most important goal.[citation needed]

During the first half of 1992, a monetary union with 15 independent states all using the ruble existed. Since it was clear that the situation would not last, each of them was using its position as “free-riders” to issue huge amounts of money in the form of credit (since Russia held the monopoly on printing banknotes and coins). As a result, some countries were issuing coupons in order to “protect” their markets from buyers from other states.[citation needed] This also started to cause massive inflation in the formerly high-valued currency. The Russian central bank responded in July 1992 by setting up restrictions to the flow of credit between Russia and other states. The final collapse of the “ruble zone” began with the exchange of banknotes by the Central Bank of Russia on Russian territory at the end of July 1993. As a result, other countries still in the ruble zone (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia) were “pushed out”.[citation needed] By November 1993 all newly independent states had introduced their own currencies, with the exception of war-torn Tajikistan (May 1995) and unrecognized Transnistria (1994). Due to the large amount of inflation in the Soviet bloc, each of the successor currencies had to be revalued at least once.

Details on the introduction of new currencies in the newly independent states are discussed below.

Post Soviet
First national currency (with new code)
replacing the “Soviet ruble” (SUR)
Conversion rate
from SUR
Date introduction new currency Date leaving
the “ruble zone”[9]
Future revaluation or currency replacement
date, New replaced currency
and rate[10]
 Armenia Armenian dram
200 SUR
= 1 AMD
22 November 1993 November 1993
 Azerbaijan Azerbaijani manat
10 SUR
= 1 AZM
15 August 1992 August 1993 1 January 2006:
Azerbaijani manat (AZN)
5 000 AZM = 1 AZN
 Belarus Belarusian ruble
10 SUR
= 1 BYB
25 May 1992 26 July 1993 2000:
Belarusian ruble
1 000 BYB = 1 BYR

Belarusian ruble (BYN)
10 000 BYR = 1 BYN

 Estonia Estonian kroon
10 SUR
= 1 EEK
20 June 1992 22 June 1992 1 January 2011:
Euro (EUR)
15.6466 EEK = 1 EUR
 Georgia Georgian kupon
= 1 GEK
3 April 1993 20 August 1993 20 October 1995:
Georgian lari (GEL)
1 000 000 GEK = 1 GEL
 Kazakhstan Kazakhstani tenge
500 SUR
= 1 KZT
15 November 1993 November 1993
 Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstani som
200 SUR
= 1 KGS
10 May 1993 15 May 1993
 Latvia Latvian rublis
= 1 LVR
7 May 1992 20 July 1992 5 March 1993:
Latvian lats (LVL)
200 LVR = 1 LVL

1 January 2014:
Euro (EUR)
0.702804 LVL = 1 EUR

 Lithuania Lithuanian talonas
10 SUR
= 1 LTT
1 May 1992 1 October 1992 26 June 1993:
Lithuanian litas (LTL)
100 LTT = 1 LTL

1 January 2015:
Euro (EUR)
3.4528 LTL = 1 EUR

 Moldova Moldovan cupon
= 1 MDC
10 June 1992 July 1993 29 November 1993:
Moldovan leu (MDL)
1000 MDC = 1 MDL
 Russia Russian ruble
= 1 RUR
14 July 1992 August 1993 01 January 1998:
Russian ruble (RUB)
1000 RUR = 1 RUB
 Tajikistan Tajikistani ruble
100 SUR
= 1 TJR
10 May 1995 January 1994 30 October 2000:
Tajikistani somoni (TJS)
1000 TJR = 1 TJS
 Turkmenistan Turkmenistan manat
500 SUR
= 1 TMM
1 November 1993 November 1993 01 January 2009:
Turkmenistan manat (TMT)
5000 TMM = 1 TMT
 Ukraine Ukrainian karbovanets
= 1 UAK
12 January 1992 November 1992 02 September 1996:
Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH)
100 000 UAK = 1 UAH
 Uzbekistan Uzbekistani so’m
= 1 UZC
15 November 1993 15 November 1993 01 July 1994:
Uzbekistani so’m (UZS)
1000 UZC = 1 UZS

See also

  • Hyperinflation in early Soviet Russia


  1. ^
  2. ^ “NSV Liidu valuutasüsteem ja esimesed ühisettevõtted” (in Estonian) Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ An Economic History of the U.S.S.R. by Alec Nove (.mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    ISBN 0-14-021403-8), pp. 283, 310.
  4. ^ ab Online, WSI (18 August 2015). “Rahan arvottomuus – The Baltic Guide Online”. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  5. ^ “Idänkaupan loppu – Suomen ja Neuvostoliiton välinen erityinen kauppasuhde ja Suomen kauppapolitiikan odotushorisontti sen purkautuessa 1988–1991”. 7 May 2018. Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  6. ^ Osband, Kent (7 May 2018). “Pandora’s Risk: Uncertainty at the Core of Finance”. Columbia University Press. Archived from the original on 15 March 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Susiluoto, Ilmari. Vilpittömän ilon valtakunta. Gummerus, Jyväskylä 2007.
    ISBN 978-951-20-7496-9. Pages 174-177, 180-181.
  8. ^ Archive of Bank of Russia “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2012-09-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ John Odling-Smee, Gonzalo Pastor. The IMF and the Ruble Area, 1991—1993 // IMF Working Paper, 2001 Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ ISO 4217

External links

  • Leon Trotsky. The Revolution Betrayed. Chapter 4 – The Struggle for Productivity of Labor, associated with the issuence of the ruble, 1936
  • A commercial site with some relevant historical information
  • Catalog of USSR Banknotes from 1922
  • Монеты России и СССР


Austrian Vereinstaler of 1866

The Vereinsthaler (German: [fɛɐ̯ˈʔaɪnsˌtaːlɐ], union thaler) was a standard silver coin used in most German states and the Austrian Empire in the years before German unification.


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Use in different states
  • 3 Withdrawal
  • 4 References


The Vereinsthaler was introduced in 1857 to replace the previous standard Thaler (based on the Prussian Thaler) which was very slightly heavier. While the earlier Thaler had contained one fourteenth of a Cologne mark of silver (16.704 grams), the Vereinsthaler contained ​16 23 grams of silver, which was indicated on the coins as one thirtieth of a metric pound (pfund, equal to 500 grams).

Use in different states

The Vereinsthaler was used as the base for several different currencies. In Prussia and several other northern German states, the Vereinsthaler was the standard unit of account, divided into 30 Silbergroschen, each of 12 Pfennig. See Prussian Vereinsthaler.

In Saxony, the Neugroschen was equal to the Prussian Silbergroschen but was divided into 10 Pfennig. See Saxon Vereinsthaler. Some other north German states, such as Hanover, used the name Groschen rather than Silbergroschen for a coin of 12 Pfennig (see Hanoverian Vereinsthaler), while the Mecklenburg states and Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) used entirely distinct subdivisions (see Mecklenburg Vereinsthaler and Hesse-Kassel Vereinsthaler.

In southern Germany, states including Bavaria used the Gulden as the standard unit of account, with ​1 34 Gulden = 1 Vereinsthaler. The Gulden was divided into 60 Kreuzer, each of 4 Pfennig or 8 Heller. See Bavarian Gulden, Baden Gulden, Württemberg Gulden.

In the Austrian Empire (and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire), a different Gulden (also known as the Florin or, in Hungarian, Forint) was the unit of account, with ​1 12 Gulden = 1 Vereinsthaler. The Gulden was divided into 100 Kreuzer.


German unification saw the introduction of the Goldmark at a rate of 3 mark = 1 Vereinsthaler. Consequently, the new 10 pfennig coins were equivalent to the old Groschen of northern Germany and this became a nickname for the denomination. The Vereinsthaler coins continued to circulate as 3 mark coins until 1908, when they were replaced with smaller 3 mark coins. The name Thaler for 3 marks persisted until the 1930s.

Austria-Hungary stopped issuing Vereinsthaler coins in 1867, following the Austro-Prussian War.

Preceded by
German currency
Succeeded by
German Goldmark


.mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

  • Krause, Chester L.; Clifford Mishler (1991). Standard Catalog of World Coins: 1801–1991 (18th ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}


Bernese batzen (15th century)

The batzen was a coin produced by Bern, Switzerland, from the 15th century until the mid-19th century.

Etymologically, the batzen is most likely named for the bear (Batz, Bätz, Standard German Petz), the heraldic animal of Berne that was depicted on the coins.
Alternatively, the term could derive from a word for “lump, clod”, as a colloquialism referring to the low quality of the silver or billon in the coin.[citation needed] Yet other hypotheses[by whom?] suggest that the name is related to the verb ‘batter’, meaning ‘to mint’, or that it is related to the Italian pezzo, ‘piece’.[1]
The batzen was originally a silver coin, but by the 17th century it was struck in billon. In Bern’s monetary system, the batzen was worth four kreuzer.

The term batzen for a coin of low value soon spread beyond Berne, and batzen were minted in other Swiss cantons and southern German states.

Konkordatsbatzen minted in Bern (1826)

With the introduction of the franc in the Helvetic Republic, a batzen became the denomination of one tenth of a franc, equivalent to 10 rappen or centimes.
The Konkordatsbatzen of 1826 was a standardised coin issued by the cantons of Berne, Basel, Fribourg, Solothurn, Aargau and Vaud.

When the Swiss franc was introduced in 1850 as a common currency for all Swiss cantons, the batzen denomination was no longer officially used, but remained a colloquial term for the 10 rappen coin.


  1. ^ cf.
    Du Cange, s.v Baciones


Florence gulden (1341)

Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch and German gulden, originally shortened from Middle High German guldin pfenninc “gold penny”. This was the term that became current in the southern and western parts of the Holy Roman Empire for the Fiorino d’oro (introduced 1252). Hence, the name has often been interchangeable with florin (currency sign ƒ or ƒl.).


  • 1 Early versions
  • 2 Modern currencies
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References

Early versions

The term gulden was used in the Holy Roman Empire during the 14th to 16th centuries in generic reference to gold coins. Currency became more standardized with the imperial reform of 1559. In the early modern period, the value of a gulden was expressed in standardized form (Rechnungsgulden), and in some instances, silver coins were minted designed to have the value corresponding to one gulden.
The Rhenish gulden (florenus Rheni) was issued by Trier, Cologne and Mainz in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Basel minted its own Apfelgulden between 1429 and 1509. Bern and Solothurn followed in the 1480s, Fribourg in 1509 and Zürich in 1510, and other towns in the 17th century, resulting in a fragmented system of local currencies in the early modern Switzerland.

Modern currencies

With increasingly standardized currencies in the early modern period, gulden or guilder became a term for various early modern and modern currencies, detached from actual gold coins, in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Netherlands Indies gulden was introduced in 1602, at the start of the United East Indies Company.
The Dutch guilder originated in 1680 as a 10.61g .910 silver coin, minted by the States of Holland and West Friesland.[1]

The British Guianan guilder was in use in British Guiana, 1796 to 1839.

In 1753, Bavaria and Austria-Hungary agreed to use the same conventions. The result was
the Austro-Hungarian gulden (Austrian Empire 1754 to 1892), and the Bavarian gulden (1754 to 1873, see also Baden gulden, Württemberg gulden, South German gulden).

A Danzig gulden was in use 1923 to 1939.

The Dutch guilder remained the national currency of the Netherlands until it was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2002. The Netherlands Antillean guilder is currently the only guilder in use, which after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles remained the currency of the new countries Curaçao and Sint Maarten and (until 1 January 2011) the Caribbean Netherlands.

  • Surinamese guilder
  • Netherlands Indies gulden
  • Netherlands New Guinean gulden

The Caribbean guilder is a proposed currency for Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

See also

Other coin names that are derived from the gold of which they were once made:

  • Öre, øre
  • Złoty (historically the Polish equivalent of German gulden)
  • Hungarian forint (historically the Hungarian equivalent of Florentine florin)


  1. ^ Krause, Chester; Clifford Mishler (2003). [Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700: Identification and Valuation Guide 17th Century (Standard Catalog of World Coins 17th Century Edition 1601-1700)] (3rd ed.). Krause Publications. p. 932. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}