New Russian note with a design focusing on Crimea sparks anger in Ukraine

Ukrainian officials prohibit transactions using Russian notes or coins with scenes from occupied region
By , Special to Coin World
Published : 10/21/17
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The Bank of Russia announced on Oct. 12 that new bank notes with face values of 200 and 2,000 rubles (the U.S. equivalent of $3.50 and $35, respectively) were entering circulation. The bank says the themes were chosen following nationwide voting on 10 finalists from an original 5,000 submissions.

It only took a day for there to be a reaction.


Designer abandoned original reverse design late in the process Also in our Oct. 30 issue, Mike Diamond presents an interesting question in his Collectors’ Clearinghouse column: How many errors can one coin have?


One of the subjects of the green 200-ruble note is Crimea, officially part of Ukraine, but the subject of an internationally condemned Russian land-grab in 2014. The face of the note has symbols of the city of Sevastopol, particularly its Monument to the Scuttled Ships. This is a landmark since 1905 when it was constructed on the 50th anniversary of the deliberate sinking of 15 ships to block the harbor from the English, French, and Turkish navies during the Crimean War. On the back is a view of Tauric Chersonesos, a fifth century B.C. Greek city on the shores of the Black Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site familiar to collectors of ancient Greek coins. The bank says this note is printed on high-density cotton paper with “polymeric impregnation,” to ensure its high wear resistance and extend its time in circulation.

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The National Bank of Ukraine issued a statement on Oct. 13 prohibiting “transactions using banknotes and coins issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in case they contain images of maps, symbols, buildings, monuments, archeological or historical artefacts, and landscapes of any other objects located on Ukrainian administrative territorial units occupied by the Russian Federation.” The bank said the decision was taken under the law “to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The 2,000-ruble note is blue in color. On its face is the new bridge from Vladivostok to neighboring Russky Island in the Sea of Japan. The new Vostochny cosmodrome in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East is on the back.  

The Cyrillic symbol for “ruble” is on a security thread and in micro-images on the notes. The nominal values are in larger type than on other Russian bank notes and are in raised print for the vision impaired. On the face of each note is a QR code containing a link to the Bank of Russia page giving detailed information on the security features.

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