Paper Money

Disputed Republic of Abkhazia issues its first bank note

A country recognized as an independent state by only five of the United Nations’ 193 member states has issued its first bank notes. On Sept. 17, the National Bank of the Republic of Abkhazia announced a commemorative note portraying the disputed country’s first president, Vladislav Arynba. The note has a face value of 500 apsars (5,000 Russian rubles or $76 at the official rate). It is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of victory in the 1992–1993 “Patriotic War of the Abkhazian People.”

Abkhazia is at the northwest corner of Georgia, bordering the Black Sea, and just southeast of Sochi, Russia. It waged a winning war of secession against Georgia in 1992 and 1993 and formally declared independence in 1999. It was recognized as an independent state by Russia after the Georgian-Russian war of 2008. Georgia then declared Abkhazia “occupied” by Russia. 

In recent years, Abkhazia has drifted ever closer to Russia. The Russian ruble is the currency in circulation.

The cotton-paper, 6- by 2.5-inch note is printed mainly in shades of brown and green. In addition to a facing bust of President Arynba, the face shows two soldiers and the national flag being raised. The images are superimposed on a traditional Abkhazian ornament. The seven stars from the state flag are in a semicircle. The state emblem also appears.

The back has another traditional ornament, a map of the state, an emblem with a fortress tower and a legend that translates as “May Abkhazia reach completion.” A QR code at the right linking to the bank’s website containing a description of the note’s security features. 10,000 pieces are being printed.

Since the ruble is the circulating currency, the note will not circulate. No information was given about how it may be acquired.  

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