Russian Empire KopeksThe ruble or rouble (Russian: рубль rublʹ, plural рубли́ rubli; see note on English spelling and Russian plurals with numbers) (code: RUB) is the currency of the Russian Federation and the two partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Formerly, the ruble was also the currency of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union prior to their breakups. Belarus and Transnistria also use currencies with the same name. The ruble is subdivided into 100 kopeks (sometimes transliterated kopecks, or copecks, Russian: копе́йка, kopéyka, plural: копе́йки, kopéyki). The ISO 4217 code is RUB or 643; the former code, RUR or 810, refers to the Russian ruble prior to the 1998 denomination (1 RUB = 1000 RUR).
Currently there is no official symbol for the ruble, though the abbreviation руб. is in wide use. Various symbols have been put forward as possibilities, including: "РР" (Cyrillic for "RR"), an "R" with two horizontal strokes across the top (similar to the Philippine peso sign),₱, a "Р" with one horizontal strike.
According to the most popular version, the word "ruble" is derived from the Russian verb руби́ть, rubit', meaning to chop. Historically, a "ruble" was a piece of a certain weight chopped off a gold silver ingot (grivna), hence the name. Another version is that the name comes from the Russian noun рубе́ц, meaning "seam", as coins were molded and a seam was clearly visible on the side.
25 Assignation rubles of 1769
1898 Russian Empire one rouble bill, reverse
In 1768, during the reign of Catherine the Great, the Assignation Bank was instituted to issue the government paper-money. It opened in St. 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) 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 "Kerenki" or "Kerensky rubles". The provisional government also had 25 and 100 rubles state credit notes printed in the U.S.A. but most were not issued.
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.
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.
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 language 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.
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".
In 1947, State Treasury notes were introduced for 1, 3 and 5 rubles, along with State Bank notes for 10, 25, 50 and 100 rubles.
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 U.S.S.R. 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 1000 ruble note depicting a statue of Yaroslav, the lack of recognizable faces on the currency has been partially alleviated.