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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 13, March 30, 2008, Article 37

WILL RUSSIA ELIMINATE THE KOPECK?

[An article published this week by the Russian news agency
Novosti implies (but doesn't seem to specifically state)
that Russia will cease production of its smallest coin, the
kopeck.  Here are some excerpts from the article, which
focuses more on economics and inflation than coinage.
-Editor]

The ten-year history of the Russian kopeck has come to an
end. Arkady Tkachuk, Director of Goznak Association in charge
of printing banknotes, said, "Kopecks cost more than their
nominal value and do not return to banks. This is why there
is no point in minting them."

This verdict and the start of the mass minting of ten ruble
coins, which was also announced by Tkachuk, mean that the
government has acknowledged its defeat in curbing inflation.

The kopeck returned into circulation after the 1997 denomination.
But the new Russian coin was different from its Soviet predecessor.
A Soviet kopeck could buy a glass of soda water or a box of
matches. A Russian kopeck is worth nothing and can buy nothing,
but it was not supposed to buy anything. In bringing it back,
the then Russian leaders merely wanted it to symbolize the
strength of the national currency and the advent of stability
in the Russian economy.

The appearance of new zeroes on banknotes is not far off -
a 5,000-ruble banknote was put into circulation in 2006.
Now the printing of a 10,000-ruble banknote is under
discussion. In the meantime, the 1997 symbol of stability
has become a real burden in the wallets of Russians. People
have long stopped taking kopeck change, or bending to pick
up a dropped coin. Now, ten years after, Tkachuk said,
"Kopecks are mostly used in payments for utilities. If we
round these sums, we will save on getting rid from small
coins."

Withdrawal of kopecks from circulation and replacement of
ten-ruble banknotes with coins are justified economically,
but they make it abundantly clear that inflation is out
of control.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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