Ukrainian Currency

Hryvnia_signUkrainian national currency is “Hryvnia”. Letter code is UAH. Digital code of Ukrainian Hryvnia is 980. Short version in Ukrainian language (in Cyrylic) is “грн”.
Only National Bank of Ukraine has a right to issue UAH. Official course of Ukrainian Hryvnia is changing slightly every day, according to the economy flow, but the main is as follows:

1 USD (American Dollar) = 23 UAH (Ukrainian Hryvnia)
1 EUR (Euro) = 25 UAH
1 GBP (Great Britain Pound) = 30 UAH
1 PLN (Polish Zloty) = 6.5 UAH
1 RUB (Russian Ruble) = 0.45 UAH

As the monetary unit, Hryvnia has occurred during the Kievan Rus, tentatively in the 11 century. The name “hryvnia” is derived from the name of jewelry made of gold or silver in the form of hoops, worn around the neck (neck=”hryva”) and called the hryvnia. Most likely it was softly rounded hoops that ended with heads of lions, decorated with colored enamel. Precious hryvnia was created entirely of gold.

The word “hryvna” within the meaning of a certain number of coins was first seen in “The Tale of Bygone Years” (Povist Vremennykh Lit). In the XI century, the word “hryvnia” has acquired a weight meaning. Weight of silver could consist of a certain number of the same coins and tat is why they began to be count in pieces. Within the time in “silver hryvnia” appeared in Kievan Rus (weight – between 160 and 205 grams depending on type) and also “hryvnia of kun” appeared that time (the one was counted in pieces). Interestingly, their first cost was the same, but then, due to the unstable weight of coins one “silver hryvnia” became equal to several “hryvnia of kun”. “Hryvnia of kun” was equal to certain number of payment units (coins).

In 11th century “hryvnia of kun” = 20 “nohats” = 25 “kun” = 50 “rezans”. In 12th century “hryvnia of kun” = 20 “nohats” = 50 “kun” = 50. In those days there were several kinds of hryvnia and those were “Lviv hryvnia”, “Kharkiv hryvnia”, “Lutsk hryvnia”. Since 11th Century in the Kievan Rus monetary circulation system was so-called “Kiev hryvnia”, which were hexagonal in shape and weighed 150 grams silver each. This money existed until the Mongol-Tatar invasion. In addition, there were “Novgorod hryvnia” originally known only in the north-western part of Kievan Rus, and from the middle of the 8th century known in the entire state. They looked like long silver sticks and weighed 240 g. Transitive from the “Kiev hryvnia” to “Novgorod hryvnia” was “Chernihiv hryvnia” which form was very close to the one of “Kiev hryvnia” and weighed same as “Novgorod hryvnia”. But the most interesting was the form of “Volga hryvnia” because masters created it in shape of small boat. Archaeologists often find also so called “Tatar hryvnia” that southern Kievan Rus used to pay tribute to Golden Horde.

Some changes in life of hryvnia arisen in 8th Century, when Novgorod silver bullion along with the name “hryvnia” began to be used under the name “ruble”. Already in 15th bars generally go out of circulation and ruble became the only monetary unit. It is the name “ruble” (Ukrainian name – “karbovanets”) became the symbol of the Russian and then Soviet monetary system. Hryvnia persisted to the 18th century just as the coin weight called “hryvenka” (small hryvnia). All hryvnia coins except Novgorod ones, lasted until the mid – second half of the thirteenth century.
Hryvnia during the times of Ukrainian National Republic

Proclaiming the July 18, 1917 the formation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, the Central Council of Ukraine introduced a new national currency. Firstly, “karbovanets” was determined Ukrainian currency, whose value amounted to 17.424 shares of pure gold (1 share = 0,044 grams of gold). After decision of the Central Council December 19, 1917 first banknote of Ukrainian People’s Republic was printed. It was 100 “karbovanets” bill, decorated with ornaments in the spirit of Ukrainian baroque of 17th-18th centuries. The inscription “100 karbovantsiv” was printed on the banknote in languages of four most numerous nationalities living in Ukraine – Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Jewish (Yiddish).

After the introduction of banknotes in circulation almost immediately there were instances of fraud. Because of that and some political reasons, Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed independent from Russia. March 1, 1918 passed a law establishing a new currency – the hryvnia, which was divided into 100 parts and equal 1/2 of karbovanets.

During 1918, banknotes in bill of 2, 10, 100, 500, 1000 and 2000 hryvnia were printed in Berlin. Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky who got the power to rule Ukraine in April 1918 resumed “karbovanets” as the basic monetary unit of the Ukrainian State again. After the transfer of power in Ukraine in December 1918 to the Directoria led by Vynnychenko and Simon Petlyura hryvnia was again proclaimed basic monetary unit of the restored UPR.

Hryvnia in the modern Ukraine

Immediate work on making Ukrainian currency was launched in April 1991 in two areas: design and production of banknotes and coins. The design was developed by Ukrainian artists Vasyl Lopata and Boris Maksimov under the direct supervision of V.P.Matviyenko. In September 1991, after review and approval by the Parliament, banknotes in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200 were issued and later instead of 3 hryvnia bill 2 and 20 hryvnia bill has been released. March 2, 1992 were approved denominations of coins: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 cents and 1 hryvnia. October 23, 1991 Ukrainian Government signed a contract for printing hryvnia banknotes with “Canadian Banknotes Company”. However, sufficient capacity to print at least 1.5 billion needed banknotes firm had not have. And January 18, 1992 Kiev signed a contract with the British company “Thomas De La Rue.” Although the UAH was made on time, difficult economic situation required the introduction of transitional money, that would have assumed inflation pressure and the threat of non-payment, as it was in the past in the United States. Temporary coupon-ruble performed the function of money, providing wages to miners, pensioners and civil servants. This made it possible to avoid shortages of money, which originated at the exit of Ukraine from soviet ruble zone. August 25, 1996 the media announced the Decree of President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma “On Monetary Reform in Ukraine.” Coupons were converted to UAH at the rate of 100,000 karbovanets per one hryvnia. For 15 days from September 2nd till September 16, 1996 coupons and hryvnias in cash circulation were simultaneously freely used but with quick withdrawal of coupons. After September 16, 1996 acceptance of coupons in all types of payments were suspended and the only legal tender currency on the territory of Ukraine became hryvnia.