From Academic Kids

  one rouble coin. Heads (right) and tails (left)
1998 Russian Federation one rouble coin. Heads (right) and tails (left)
Missing image
1898 Russian Empire one rouble bill. Obverse.
Missing image
1898 Russian Empire one rouble bill. Reverse.

The ruble or rouble (Russian рубль; see note on spelling below) is the name of the currencies of the Russian Federation and Belarus (and formerly, of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire). One ruble is divided into 100 kopeks (копе́йка). The ISO 4217 currency code for the Russian ruble is now RUB; the former code, RUR, referres to the currency prior to 1997 denomination.



The ruble has been the Russian unit of currency for many centuries. The word "ruble" is derived from the Russian 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. It was the Russian equivalent of the mark, a measurement of weight for silver and gold used in medieval western Europe.

In Russian, a folk name for "ruble", tselkovyi (целковый, wholesome), is known, which is a shortening of the "целковый рубль" ("tselkovyi ruble"), i.e. a wholesome, uncut ruble.

Ruble and Kopek

The word kopek, kopeck or copeck (kopeyka) derives from the Russian kop'yo (копьё) – a spear. The first kopek coins, minted by Muscovy after the capture of Novgorod in 1478, carried the Moscow coat of arms with Saint George slaying a dragon with a spear. The modern Russian kopeck also carries this image.

Around 19-20th centuries, the coins of kopeck denominations had individual names: 2 kop.= dvushka, 3 kop.= altyn (pretty much obsolete by 1960th), 5 kop= pyatak, 10 kop.= grivennik, 15 kop. = paytialtynny (5 altyn; the usage lived longer than "altyn"), 20 kop. = dvugrivenny (2 grivenniks), 50 kop. = poltina or poltinnik.

Amount of 10 roubles (either bill or coin) is sometimes informally referred to as chervonets (черво́нец). Historically, it was the name for the first Russian 3-rouble gold coin issued for general circulation in 1701. The current meaning comes from Soviet golden chervonets (советский золотой червонец) issued in 1923 that was equivalent to 10 pre-revolution golden roubles.

Similary, the amount of 50 roubles is sometimes colloqially referred to as poltinnik (полтинник), despite the fact that normally the word refers to 50 kopeck.


Currently, the ruble exists in the following denominations:


  • 1 kopeck (rarely used)
  • 5 kopecks
  • 10 kopecks
  • 50 kopecks
  • 1 ruble
  • 2 rubles
  • 5 rubles


  • 10 rubles
  • 50 rubles
  • 100 rubles
  • 500 rubles
  • 1000 rubles


Over time the amount of precious metal in a ruble varied. In a 1704 currency reform Peter I standardized the ruble coin to 28 grams of silver. While ruble coins were mostly silver, sometimes they were minted of gold, and some 19th century coins were platinum. The gold ruble introduced in 1897 was equal to 0.774235 g of gold. The Soviet ruble of 1961 was formally equal to 0.987412 g of gold, but the exchange for gold was never available to the general public. The ruble is no longer linked to a gold standard.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the ruble remained the currency of the Russian Federation. During the period of high inflation of the early 1990s, the ruble was significantly devalued. The ruble was rebased on Jaunary 1, 1998, with one new ruble equalling 1,000 old rubles. Rebasing did not solve fundamental economic problems faced by the Russian economy at the time, and the currency was devalued in August 1998 following the Asian financial crisis. The ruble lost 70% of its value against US Dollar in 6 months following August 1998.

All Russian paper money is currently printed at the state-owned factory Goznak in Moscow, which was organized on June 6, 1919 and has continued to operate ever since. Coins are minted in the Monetny Dvor mint in St. Petersburg that operates since 1724 and in Moscow.

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

Ruble in Russian/Soviet subdivisions

  one ruble bill. Obverse.
1961 Soviet Union one ruble bill. Obverse.
Missing image
1961 Soviet Union one ruble bill. Reverse.

In the Soviet period, the ruble had it own name in official languages of the Soviet Union. All banknotes had their values printed in the languages of all Soviet Republics. This naming is preserved in modern Russia. Example: Tatar for ruble and kopek are sum and tien. The current names of several currencies of Central Asia are simply the local names for ruble.

The name of the currency in the official languages of the 15 republics:

Armenian ռուբլի roublee
Azerbaijani манат manat
Belarusian рубель rubyel’
Estonian rubla
Georgian მანეთი manati
Kazakh сом som
Kyrgyz сом som
Latvian rublis
Lithuanian rublis
Moldavian рублэ rublă
Russian рубль rubl’
Tajik сўм sum
Turkmen манат manat
Ukrainian карбованець karbovanets’
Uzbek сўм so'm

Note on spelling

Both the spellings "ruble" and "rouble" are used in English. The form "rouble" is preferred by the Oxford English Dictionary, but the earliest uses it records in English were the now completely obsolete "robble", followed by "ruble". The form "rouble" probably derives from the transliteration into French used among the Tsarist aristocracy. There is some tendency for North American authors to use "ruble" and other English speakers to use "rouble", and also some tendency for older sources to use "rouble" and more recent ones to use "ruble", but neither tendency is absolute. An accurate, but ungainly, English transliteration is rubl'.

See also

External links

Template:Commons Template:Commons Template:Commons Template:EuropeanCurrencies Template:AsianCurrenciesbe:Расейскі рубель da:Rubel de:Rubel fa:روبل fr:Rouble he:רובל id:Rubel ms:Ruble nl:Roebel ja:ルーブル no:Rubel pl:Rubel pt:Rublo ru:Рубль sv:Rubel zh:卢布


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