Paper Money

Ukraine marks war with new commemorative bank note

A new commemorative 20-hryvnia bank note was revealed by the National Bank of Ukraine on Feb. 23, the first anniversary of Russia’s disastrous invasion.

Images by the National Bank of Ukraine.

A new commemorative 20-hryvnia (55 cents, U.S.) bank note titled “We will not forget! We will not forgive!” was revealed by Andriy Pyshnyy, governor of the National Bank of Ukraine on Feb. 23, the first anniversary of Russia’s disastrous invasion.

The bank says the issue of the note that day commemorates Ukraine’s struggle against the invaders and celebrates the fortitude, resilience, indomitability, and heroism of Ukrainians.

The governor said, “We could not help but mark this date, the anniversary of the full-scale invasion, this dramatic, shocking and bullet-ridden year of our lives. This is a war that’s been going on for us not for a year, not for a decade, but for centuries. That’s why we decided to commemorate our collective struggle on a banknote. Today, the NBU presents a commemorative banknote that was created as a reminder of Ukraine’s war for independence and sovereignty.”

He added that the name of the note does not need any explanation, as it’s understandable and familiar to every Ukrainian. It says: “We’re holding on, and we’ll win.”

The 80-millimeter by 165-millimeter commemorative note differs from other Ukrainian bank notes in its bright and expressive design and vertical format. Its serial numbers start with a 3C prefix and then numbers from 0000001 to 0300000. It is legal tender without limit. It appears doubtful how many will ever be spent, since of the 300,000 pieces, 200,000 are in souvenir packaging and 99,900 are in envelopes. They are being sold initially in the bank’s online store and then in banks starting in late March.

It is the design of Ukrainian artist Volodymyr Tara. The main image of the face evokes the United States Marines on Iwo Jima, with three Ukrainian soldiers hoisting a Ukrainian flag against the backdrop of fragments of a map of Ukraine and the flags of Great Britain, the European Union, the United States and Canada, countries that have given major support to Ukraine. At the top are texts in Ukrainian and English, reading: “On 24 February, a new stage of armed aggression against Ukraine began with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army. The people’s war for the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine has been going on since 2014. This is also a war for a civilizational choice: Ukraine is defending its place in European civilization, and at the same time fighting for the fundamental values, rights and freedoms that underpin the Western world.” Under the laurel wreath at the top is a legend translating to “And on the renovated land, there’ll be no enemy ...” and a polymer thread with the symbol of the hryvnia, the logo of the national bank, the shoulder patch and emblem of Ukraine’s armed forces, and the legend “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes.” There is also a stylized steppe with poppies symbolizing Ukraine’s dead defenders.

The back features a stylized composition representing the physical and mental suffering of Ukrainians under occupation — hands tied behind a person’s back against the background of crumpled cloth with a figure that suggests a bullet wound or the form of a poppy; on both sides of the figure are stylized wings made from candle flames; above, against the backdrop of a skyline of destroyed houses is a crown of thorns that stands for martyrdom; to the right of the crown is a security feature — a colored composition consisting of a guilder rose and an anti-tank hedgehog. A legend under the crown of thorns translates “We will not forget! We will not forgive! Never,” while also depicting the stylized poppies, which stand here stand for bloody bullet wounds.

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