What Is the Russian Ruble?

The RUB is the currency abbreviation for the Russian ruble (RUB), the currency of Russia. The Russian ruble is made up of 100 kopeks and does not have an official symbol. Although no symbol exists officially, py6 (three Cyrillic characters which are the equivalent of RUB in Russian) is currently used.

As of Q2 2021, USD $1 is worth roughly 74.5 RUB.


Key Takeaways

  • The Ruble is the official currency of the Russian Federation and the former Soviet Union.
  • The ruble has been used since the 13th century, making it the second oldest national currency behind the British pound sterling.
  • Russia has been among the first nations to seriously explore a central bank backed digital currency, the "CryptoRuble," but it has yet to be approved or issued.

Understanding the Russian Ruble

The ruble was the official currency of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union. However, before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, the currency symbol was the SUR, and up until the redenomination in 1998 after the Russian financial crisis, the code for the ruble was RUR. The 1998 redenomination—which was at a rate of 1000:1 to the old ruble—came after the ruble lost more than half its value during the crisis.

Russian ruble banknotes are printed at a state-owned factory in Moscow, which has been in operation since the end of World War I. Coins are minted in both Moscow and at the nearly 300-year old St. Petersburg Mint.

In late 2017, the National Bank of Ukraine issued a mandate that all Ukrainian banks and other financial institutions were forbidden to circulate Russian banknotes that depict images of Crimea, a region of Ukraine that is commonly regarded as a territory of Russia.

The Ruble has been the official currency of Russia for nearly 500 years. 

CryptoRuble

The CryptoRuble is a proposed digital currency currently in development, commissioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. It will not be a decentralized cryptocurrency in the way that Bitcoin is, as it will be issued by the government with no mining involved. The value of the CryptoRuble will be identical to the value of a regular ruble.

Russia's Economy

Russia is more than twice as large as the contiguous 48 U.S. states, with an educated population and far more natural wealth than you’d expect to find in an area even as vast as 6.6 million square miles. Shouldn’t such a nation be the envy of the world, its undisputed superpower? Yet Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) only comes in at number 11 in the world, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures.

While the United States ranks as the world's largest economy with a nominal GDP of $21.44 trillion in 2019, Russia's nominal GDP comes in at $1.64 trillion. In terms of GDP, Russia trails much smaller countries, such as the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. This is far lower than the country's inputs—such as literacy levels and access to capital—would indicate.

Since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian economy has fared better than those of most of the 14 other smaller republics of the former USSR. The Western-friendly Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania are now each firmly ensconced as full members of the European Union and have fared far better economically. Meanwhile, Russia’s economy—based primarily on extracting resources from the Earth—hasn’t translated into significant general wealth for its 144 million citizens.

While Russia is one of the largest oil exporters, its currency is not heavily correlated to the price of oil due to the ongoing political instability in Russia. Periods of ruble weakness have tended to come at times of political unrest and localized issues.