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Russian ruble

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5,000 ₽ (2010)


kopeyka (копейка)



Russian ruble

The language(s) of this currency belong(s) to the Slavic languages. There is more than one way to construct plural forms.

The Russian ruble or rouble (Russian: рубль, rublʹ, plural рубли́, rubli; sign: , руб; code: RUB) is the currency of Russia, the two partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the two unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. The ruble is subdivided into 100 kopeks (sometimes written as kopecks or copecks; Russian: копе́йка, kopeyka; plural: копе́йки, kopeyki). The ISO 4217 code is RUB or 643; the former code, RUR or 810, refers to the Russian ruble before the 1998 redenomination (1 RUB = 1,000 RUR).


The ruble was the currency of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union (as Soviet ruble) before its dissolution. Belarus and Transnistria use currencies with the same name. The Russian ruble was the world's first decimal currency: it was decimalised in 1704 when the ruble became legally equal to 100 kopeks.

The word "ruble" is derived from the Russian verb руби́ть (rubít'), meaning "to chop, to cut, to hack". It is firstly mentioned in the 13th century in a Novgorod birch bark manuscript as a synonym for a 204-gram (6.6 ozt) (ozt is troy ounces) silver bullion called grivna. Its casting included some sort of cutting (the exact technology is unknown), hence the name. Earlier it was thought that the ruble was a cutout part of a grivna, though this etymology is now obsolete.

However, from 14th to the 17th centuries the ruble was neither a coin nor a currency but rather a unit of weight and account. The most used currency was a small silver coin called denga (pl. dengi). There were two variants of the denga minted in Novgorod and Moscow. The weight of a denga silver coin was unstable and inflating, but by 1535 one Novgorod denga weighted 0.68 grams (0.022 ozt), the Moscow denga being a half of the Novgorod denga. Thus one account ruble consisted of 100 Novgorod or 200 Moscow dengi (68 grams (2.2 ozt) of silver). As the Novgorod denga bore the image of a rider with a spear (Russian: копьё, kop’yo), it later has become known as kopek. In the 17th century the weight of a kopek coin lowered to 0.48 grams (0.015 ozt), thus one ruble was equal to 48 grams (1.5 ozt) of silver.

In 1654–1655 tsar Alexis I tried to carry out a monetary reform and ordered to mint silver one ruble coins from imported joachimsthalers and new kopek coins from copper (old silver kopeks was left in circulation). Although around 1 million of such rubles was made, its lower weight (28–32 grams) against the nominal ruble (48 g) led to counterfeit, speculation and inflation, and after the Copper Riot of 1662 the new monetary system was abandoned in favour of the old one.

Russian Empire

In 1704 Peter the Great finally reformed the old Russian monetary system, ordering the minting of a 28 g (0.99 oz) silver ruble coin equivalent to 100 new copper kopek coins.

The amount of precious metal in a ruble varied over time. In a 1704 currency reform, Peter the Great standardized the ruble to 28 grams of silver. While ruble coins were silver, there were higher denominations minted of gold and platinum. By the end of the 18th century, the ruble was set to 4 zolotnik 21 dolya (almost exactly equal to 18 grams) of pure silver or 27 dolya (almost exactly equal to 1.2 grams) of pure gold, with a ratio of 15:1 for the values of the two metals. In 1828, platinum coins were introduced with 1 ruble equal to 77⅔ dolya (3.451 grams).

On 17 December 1885, a new standard was adopted which did not change the silver ruble but reduced the gold content to 1.161 grams, pegging the gold ruble to the French franc at a rate of 1 ruble = 4 francs. This rate was revised in 1897 to 1 ruble = 2⅔ francs (0.774 grams gold).

The ruble was worth about 0.50 USD in 1914.

With the outbreak of World War I, the gold standard peg was dropped and the ruble fell in value, suffering from hyperinflation in the early 1920s. With the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, the Russian ruble was replaced by the Soviet ruble. The pre-revolutionary Chervonetz was temporarily brought back into circulation from 1922–1925.

Russia's Coins

By the beginning of the 19th century, copper coins were issued for 14, 12, 1, 2 and 5 kopeks, with silver 5, 10, 25 and 50 kopeks and 1 ruble and gold 5 although production of the 10 ruble coin ceased in 1806. Silver 20 kopeks were introduced in 1820, followed by copper 10 kopeks minted between 1830 and 1839, and copper 3 kopeks introduced in 1840. Between 1828 and 1845, platinum 3, 6 and 12 rubles were issued. In 1860, silver 15 kopeks were introduced, due to the use of this denomination (equal to 1 złoty) in Poland, whilst, in 1869, gold 3 rubles were introduced. In 1886, a new gold coinage was introduced consisting of 5 and 10 ruble coins. This was followed by another in 1897. In addition to smaller 5 and 10 ruble coins, 7 12 and 15 ruble coins were issued for a single year, as these were equal in size to the previous 5 and 10 ruble coins. The gold coinage was suspended in 1911, with the other denominations produced until the First World War.

Constantine ruble

The Constantine ruble (Russian: константиновский рубль, konstantinovsky rubl′) is a rare silver coin of the Russian Empire bearing the profile of Constantine, the brother of emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I. Its manufacture was being prepared at the Saint Petersburg Mint during the brief Interregnum of 1825, but it was never minted in numbers, and never circulated in public. Its existence became known in 1857 in foreign publications.

Imperial issues

In 1768, during the reign of Catherine the Great, the Assignation Bank was instituted to issue the government paper money. It opened in Saint Petersburg and in Moscow in 1769.

In 1769, Assignation rubles were introduced for 25, 50, 75 and 100 rubles, with 5 and 10 rubles added in 1787 and 200 ruble in 1819. The value of the Assignation rubles fell relative to the coins until, in 1839, the relationship was fixed at 1 coin ruble = 3½ assignat rubles. In 1840, the State Commercial Bank issued 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 rubles notes, followed by 50 ruble credit notes of the Custody Treasury and State Loan Bank.

In 1843, the Assignation Bank ceased operations, and state credit notes (Russian: государственные кредитные билеты, gosudarstvenniye kreditniye bilety) were introduced in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 rubles. These circulated, in various types, until the revolution, with 500 rubles notes added in 1898 and 250 and 1000 rubles notes added in 1917. In 1915, two kinds of small change notes were issued. One, issued by the Treasury, consisted of regular style (if small) notes for 1, 2, 3, 5 and 50 kopeks. The other consisted of the designs of stamps printed onto card with text and the imperial eagle printed on the reverse. These were in denominations of 1, 2, 3, 10, 15 and 20 kopeks.

Provisional Government issues

In 1917, the Provisional Government issued treasury notes for 20 and 40 rubles. These notes are known as "Kerenski" or "Kerensky rubles". The provisional government also had 25 and 1,000 rubles state credit notes printed in the United States but most were not issued.

Second ruble (1992–1998)

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ruble remained the currency of the Russian Federation. A new set of coins was issued in 1992 and a new set of banknotes was issued in the name of Bank of Russia in 1993. The ISO 4217 code is RUR and number is 810. During the period of hyperinflation of the early 1990s, the ruble was significantly devalued.


After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation introduced new coins in 1992 in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 rubles. The coins depict the double-headed eagle without a crown, sceptre and globus cruciger above the legend "Банк России". It is exactly the same eagle, that the artist Ivan Bilibin painted after the February Revolution as a coat of arms for the Russian Republic. The 1 and 5 ruble coins were minted in brass-clad steel, the 10 and 20 ruble coins in cupro-nickel and the 50 and 100 ruble coins were bimetallic (aluminium-bronze and cupro-nickel-zinc). In 1993, aluminium-bronze 50 ruble coins and cupro-nickel-zinc 100 ruble coins were issued, and the material of 10 and 20 ruble coins s was changed to nickel-plated steel. In 1995 the material of 50 ruble coins was changed to brass-plated steel, but the coins were minted with the old date 1993. As high inflation persisted, the lowest denominations disappeared from circulation and the other denominations became rarely used.

During this period the commemorative one ruble coin was regularly issued. It was practically identical in size and weight to a 5 Swiss franc coin (worth approx. €3 / US$4). For this reason, there have been several instances of (now worthless) ruble coins being used on a large scale to defraud automated vending machines in Switzerland.


In 1961, new State Treasury notes were introduced for 1, 3 and 5 rubles, along with new State Bank notes for 10, 25, 50 and 100 rubles. In 1991, the State Bank took over production of 1, 3 and 5 ruble notes and also introduced 200, 500 and 1,000 ruble notes, although the 25 ruble note was no longer issued. In 1992, a final issue of notes was made bearing the name of the USSR before the Russian Federation introduced notes for 5,000 and 10,000 rubles. These were followed by 50,000 ruble notes in 1993, 100,000 rubles in 1995 and finally 500,000 rubles in 1997 (dated 1995). Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian ruble banknotes and coins have been notable for their lack of portraits, which traditionally were included under both the Tsarist and Communist regimes. With the issue of the 500 ruble note depicting a statue of Peter I and then the 1,000 ruble note depicting a statue of Yaroslav, the lack of recognizable faces on the currency has been partially alleviated.

The 1000 ruble note did not continue as a 1 new ruble note.

Third ruble (1998–present)

The ruble was redenominated on 1 January 1998, with 1 RUB equaling 1,000 RUR. The ISO 4217 code is RUB and number is 643. The redenomination was an administrative step that reduced the unwieldiness of the old ruble but occurred on the brink of the 1998 Russian financial crisis. The ruble lost 70% of its value against the US dollar in the six months following this financial crisis.

In November 2004, the authorities of Dimitrovgrad (Ulyanovsk Oblast) erected a five-meter monument to the ruble.

On 23 November 2010, at a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, it was announced that Russia and China had decided to use their own national currencies for bilateral trade, instead of the US dollar. The move is aimed to further improve relations between Beijing and Moscow and to protect their domestic economies during the Great Recession. The trading of the Chinese yuan against the ruble has started in the Chinese interbank market, while the yuan's trading against the ruble was set to start on the Russian foreign exchange market in December 2010.


In 1998, the following coins were introduced in connection with the ruble revaluation:

1 and 5 kopek coins are rarely used (especially the 1 kopek coin) due to their low value and in some cases may not be accepted by stores or individuals. In some cases, the 10 kopek coin is disregarded (refused by individuals but is accepted by vendors and is mandatory for offer in exchange).

These coins began being issued in 1998, although some of them bear the year 1997. Kopek denominations all depict St George and the Dragon, and all ruble denominations (with the exception of commemorative pieces) depict the double headed eagle. Mint marks are denoted by "Л" or "M" on kopeks and the logo of either the Leningrad or Moscow mint on rubles. Since 2000, many bimetallic 10 ruble circulating commemorative coins have been issued. These coins have a unique holographic security feature inside the "0" of the denomination 10.

In 2008, it was proposed by the Bank of Russia to withdraw 1 and 5 kopek coins from circulation and to round all the prices to multiples of 10 kopeks, although the proposal hasn't been realized yet (though characteristic "x.99" prices are treated as rounded in exchange).

The material of 1, 2 and 5 ruble coins was switched from copper-nickel-zinc and copper nickel clad to nickel-plated steel in the second quarter of 2009. 10 and 50 kopeks were also changed from aluminum-bronze to brass steel clad.

In October 2009, a new 10 ruble coin made of brass-plated steel was issued, featuring optical security features. The 10 ruble banknote would have been withdrawn in 2012, but a shortage of 10-ruble coins prompted the Central Bank to delay this and put new ones in circulation. Bimetallic commemorative 10 ruble coins will continue to be issued.

A series of circulating Olympic commemorative 25 ruble coins started in 2011. The new coins are made of cupronickel. A number of commemorative smaller denominations of these coins exist in circulation as well, depicting national historic events and anniversaries.

The Bank of Russia issues other commemorative non-circulating coins ranging from 1–50,000 rubles.


On 1 January 1998 a new series of notes dated 1997 was released. Modifications to the series were made in 2001, 2004, 2010 and 2014. The Bank of Russia plans to introduce two new notes - a 200 ruble note and a 2,000 ruble note - in 2017. In September 2016 a vote will be held to decide which symbols and cities will be displayed on the notes.

Commemorative banknotes

The 100 ruble Bank of Russia commemorative note of 2014

In 2013 a special banknote in honour of the Olympic Games in Sochi was issued.

The banknote is printed on high quality white cotton paper. A transparent polymer security stripe is embedded into the paper to make a transparent window incorporating an optically variable element in the form of a snowflake. The highlight watermark is visible in the upper part of the banknote.

Ornamental designs run vertically along the banknote.

The front of the note features a snowboarder and some of the Olympic venues of the Sochi coastal cluster.

The back of the note features the Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi.

The predominant colour of the note is blue.

The 100 ruble Bank of Russia commemorative note of 2015

In December 2015, a commemorative 100 ruble banknote was issued to celebrate the "reunification of Crimea and Russia".

The banknote is printed on light-yellow coloured cotton paper. One side of the note is devoted to Sevastopol, the other one – to Crimea. А wide security thread is embedded into the paper. It comes out on the surface on the Sevastopol side of the banknote in the figure shaped window. A multitone combined watermark is located on the unprinted area in the upper part of the banknote.

Ornamental designs run vertically along the banknote.

The Sevastopol side of the note features the Monument to the Sunken Ships in Sevastopol bay and a fragment of the painting by I.K. Aivazovsky "Russian Squadron on the Roads of Sevastopol".

The Crimea side of the note features the Swallow’s Nest, a decorative castle and local landmark.

In the lower part of the Sevastopol side of the banknote in the green stripe there is a QR-code containing a link to the Bank of Russia's webpage, which lists historical information related to the banknote.

The predominant colour of the note is olive green.


All Russian ruble banknotes are currently printed at the state-owned factory Goznak in Moscow, which was founded on 6 June 1919 and has continued to operate ever since. Coins are minted in Moscow and at the Saint Petersburg Mint, which has been operating since 1724.


On 8 July 2014 State Duma deputy and Vice-Chairman of the Duma Regional Political Committee Roman Khudyakov alleged that the image of Apollo driving Quadriga on the portico of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on the 100 ruble banknote constitutes pornography that should only be available to persons over the age of 18. Since it is impractical to limit the access of minors to banknotes, he requested in his letter to the Governor of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina to immediately change the design of the banknote.

Khudyakov, a member of parliament for the LDPR party stated, "You can clearly see that Apollo is naked, you can see his genitalia. I submitted a parliamentary request and forwarded it directly to the head of the central bank asking for the banknote to be brought into line with the law protecting children and to remove this Apollo."

Exchange rates

In January 2014, President Putin said there should be a sound balance on the ruble exchange rate; that the Central Bank only regulated the national currency exchange rate when it went beyond the upper or lower limits of the floating exchange rate; and that the freer the Russian national currency is, the better it is, adding that this would make the economy react more effectively and timely to processes taking place in it.

From July 2014 to February 2015 the ruble fell dramatically against the US dollar. A 6.5 percentage point interest rate rise to 17 percent failed to prevent the currency hitting record lows in a "perfect storm" of low oil prices, looming recession and Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

Currency symbol

A currency symbol was used for the ruble between the 16th century and the 18th century. The symbol consisted of the Russian letters "Р" (rotated 90° counter-clockwise) and "У" (written on top of it). The symbol was placed over the amount number it belonged to. This symbol, however, fell into disuse during the 19th century and onward.

No official symbol was used during the final years of the Empire, nor was one introduced in the Soviet Union. The characters R and руб. were used and remain in use today, though they are not official.

In July 2007, the Central Bank of Russia announced that it would decide on a symbol for the ruble and would test 13 symbols. This included the symbol РР (the initials of Российский Рубль "Russian ruble"), which has received preliminary approval from the Central Bank. However, one more symbol, a Р with a horizontal stroke below the top similar to the Philippine peso sign, was proposed unofficially. Proponents of the new sign claim that it is simple, recognizable and similar to other currency signs. This symbol is also similar to the Armenian letter ք or the Latin letter Ꝑ.

On 11 December 2013, the official symbol for the ruble became , a Cyrillic letter Er with a single added horizontal stroke, though the abbreviation руб. is in wide use. In Unicode version 7.0 it was assigned the encoding U+20BD ruble sign (HTML ₽).

On 4 February 2014, the Unicode Technical Committee during its 138th meeting in San Jose accepted U+20BD Ruble Sign symbol for the Unicode version 7.0; the symbol was then included into Unicode 7.0 released on 16 June 2014. In August 2014, Microsoft issued updates for all of its mainstream versions of Microsoft Windows that enabled support for the new ruble sign.

Names of different denominations

In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, several coins had individual names:

  • 18 kopek – polupolushka ("a half of polushka" – rarely used)
  • 14 kopek – polushka ("a half" [of denga])
  • 12 kopek – denga or dénezhka
  • 2 kopek – semishnik (mostly disappeared by 20th century), dvúshka (20th century) or grosh
  • 3 kopek – altyn (not in use anymore by the 1960s)
  • 5 kopek – pyaták
  • 10 kopek – grívennik
  • 15 kopek – pyatialtýnny (5 altyn; the usage lived longer than altyn)
  • 20 kopek – dvugrívenny (2 grivenniks)
  • 25 kopek – polupoltínnik (half poltínnik) or chetverták (from the Russian for ¼)
  • 50 kopek – poltína or poltínnik
  • The amount of 10 rubles (in either bill or coin) is sometimes informally referred to as a chervonets. Historically, it was the name for the first Russian three-ruble gold coin issued for general circulation in 1701. The current meaning comes from the Soviet golden chervonets (сове́тский золото́й черво́нец), issued in 1923. It was equivalent to the pre-revolution 10 gold rubles. All these names are no longer in use, however. The practice of using the old kopek coin names for amounts in rubles is not very common today. In modern Russian slang only these names are used:

  • 1 ruble – tselkóvy (целко́вый), meaning "entire" or "whole" (це́лый)
  • 5 rubles – pyatyórka (пятёрка), pyaták (пята́к), pyatachyók (пятачо́к)
  • 10 rubles – chírik (чи́рик), chervónets (черво́нец) or desyátka (деся́тка)
  • 50 rubles – poltínnik (полти́нник) with some variants like poltishók (полтишо́к), pyótr (Пётр) from picture of monument to the Peter I shown on a bill
  • 100 rubles – stólnik (сто́льник), sótka (сотка)
  • 500 rubles – pyatikhátka (пятиха́тка), originally pyatikátka (пятика́тка)
  • 1,000 rubles – kosár (коса́рь), shtúka (шту́ка) or a hybrid shtukár (штукарь), tónna (то́нна), ruble
  • 1,000,000 rubles – limón (лимо́н), lyam (лям), mult (мульт)
  • 1,000,000,000 rubles – yard (ярд), lyard (лярд).
  • The term for 500 rubles derives from "пять кать" (five Catherines). Katya (Катя, Catherina), having been a slang name for the 100 ruble note in tsarist Russia, was used as the note had a picture of Catherine II on it.

    The largest denomination note, as of December 2015, is 5,000 rubles, so all the higher amount nicknames refer to amounts and not the coin or banknote.

    Some of these definitions (chirik, poltos, pyatikatka, kosar) come from Russian jail slang (Fenya), and are considered vulgar in daily speech.


    Russian ruble Wikipedia