Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk, Yaroslavl, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Khabarovsk: what unites all these Russian cities? They are all shown on different Russian banknotes. When the modern Russian banknotes were designed, a decision was taken not to depict historical characters there, as it had been before, and to present the Russian city sights.
When people start talking about money, it is often difficult to recall what is shown on this or that banknote. And can a banknote bring to life other associations except those that we can always use them for payment? Or maybe, it is just ‘paper’ without any particular meaning? I would like to believe that other associations are possible. For example, I have my own little story associated with each banknote.
The first and the smallest Russian banknote valued at 10 rubles will soon become history. It has been actively ousted by the coins of the same value, so, if you get hold of a 10-ruble banknote depicting the Yenissei River and the chapel nearby in Krasnoyarsk, you are a lucky dog.
Actually, I regret that the paper ‘tenner’ is passing away. Such banknotes may carry the whole history with them. I often got such notes with a telephone number or with some other information, which some stranger had to jot down. With such a message, a banknote stops being just a piece of paper.
Now only maybe a pack of chewing-gum or a token for a toy machine can be bought with it, but when I was a little girl, 10 rubles seemed a whole treasure to me, and I could buy a lot of candies in a shop while my parents were not watching.
Here is my advice: if you get hold of a 10-ruble note, do not hurry to spend it. Better keep it and, not to lose it, you can make an origami shirt out of it. My friends gave it to me as a present, now I keep it in my wallet, and every time I encounter it, a happy smile appears on my face.
The cultural capital of Russia is shown on the 50-ruble note – St. Petersburg. On the one side, we see the building of the Stock Exchange and the Rostral Column, on which lights are lit on the days important for St. Petersburg, like the Victory Day, the City Day or the famous day of the city school graduates, the Red Sails Day. The statue of the Neva River is shown on the other side.
For me, the 50-ruble note was my first earning. In our backyard, we, the local children, helped our new neighbor to carry boxes with dishes and flower pots to his new flat. The neighbor gave us a 50-ruble note, although we had not expected any remuneration. We just helped. There were several of us and only one banknote. We could not share the money, so, we went to the shop and discussed what to buy with this money. Finally, we managed to buy chocolate ice-cream in waffle cones for all of us. So, this is how I earned and spent my first money.
Now it is still possible to buy an ice-cream (although only one) with this money. It is possible to buy a loaf of bread or to ride a rented bicycle for half an hour.
The building of the Bolshoy Theater in Moscow is shown on one side of the 100-ruble note, while Apollo’s quadriga decorating the Bolshoy’s face, is shown on the reverse side. There has been a dispute recently about the image on the 100-ruble note. Some Duma deputies suggested replacing Apollo’s quadriga with another image, as Apollo is shown naked there. Luckily, these ideas were not supported, and the banknote remained as it was.
With 100 rubles, a student can buy a standard breakfast (my breakfast): two bananas, a yoghurt and a bun. Having a 100-ruble note, you can print out Instagram photos in one of the special machines, which are installed in the modern malls. And in the famous Pyshechnaya cafeteria in St. Petersburg, you can buy a cup of coffee and four little pyshki (doughnuts) or a cup of coffee and a bun.
There is a proverb in the Russian language, “Do not have 100 rubles, have a hundred friends”. My friends interpret it differently: if you have a hundred rubles, each of them may give you 100 rubles, and you will raise money for something good (for example, a weekend trip to another town). This is a pragmatic approach.
On this banknote, there is a view of Arkhangelsk and of the Solovetsky monastery, while on the reverse side, there a monument to Peter the Great. This banknote has been modified more than once. Originally a two-mast ship was shown on it, entering a bay the monastery is facing; however, the ship could never enter the small bay, which was unsuitable for shipping.
Therefore, the drawing in the banknote was changed. Besides, only in 2011 it was noticed that the image of the monastery is a referral to the historic period when a concentration camp was established in the monastery. Currently all the images on the banknote are correct and correspond to reality.
With 500 rubles, you can afford more: two cinema tickets in Moscow (in fact, only for a morning show, evening shows are more expensive), some books (for example, at the book fair in Arbat in Moscow, and a pass in the Moscow Metro for 20 trips.
On the 1000-ruble banknote, there are the sights of the city of Yaroslavl. For me, this banknote is especially important, as the city of Yaroslavl has much in common, both in its coat-of-arms and in the name, has much in common with the town I grew in, Maloyaroslavets. Therefore, in my childhood I often asked my relatives about the relation between these cities and why my town was not shown on another banknote, like Yaroslavl. Now I know that is it not simple for a city to be shown on a banknote.
The 1000-ruble banknote shows the monument to Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who founded the city of Yaroslavl in 1010. On the reverse side, there is the Church of John the Baptist, one of the masterpieces of the Russian architecture. By the way, in the photo the banknote is shown against the background of another church (the Alexander Nevsky Church in Pereslavl-Zalessky, but it is difficult to notice the replacement.
1000 rubles are sufficient to spend 5 hours in an aquatic park, to have a meal in MacDonald’s’ for two or to buy a bottle of red wine for a nice evening. Besides, a 1000-ruble banknote is enough to buy tickets to the Moscow Zoo, and then to go to the Tretyakov Gallery. It is possible to buy tickets to several museums.
When I asked my friend about their associations with the 5000-ruble banknote, the answers were the following: I would like to hold it in my hands as often as possible; it is always difficult to change it in a shop; I feel more confident with it.
The banknote shows the city of Khabarovsk, the bridge across the Amur River and the monument to Nikolay Muravyev-Amursky, who founded the city of Khabarovsk and made a significant contribution to expansion of the Russian possessions in Siberia.
My story about 5000 rubles is connected with the odd job I did during my summer vacation. It was in August, and I had returned from my internship in Germany with a suitcase full of gifts and without any money in my wallet. I had to earn some money as soon as possible, and then I found an odd job for students. How surprised I was to find out that I would be working on Red Square in Moscow wearing a Russian folk costume. I had to sell sweets there. In three days’ time, I earned 5000 rubles. What can I say about those three days? It seemed to me that nearly all the foreigners who came to Red Square took their photos with me (the Russian folk costume, my blond hair and my smile did their job). My boss even suggested that I should ask money for the photo but I did not want to do that, as being popular is a pleasure in itself.
If you have 5000 rubles in your wallet, you can afford much. You can buy some electronic equipment, a subscription to a gym or to a theater. You can buy a train ticket and go from Moscow to Sochi or buy a suitcase.
It is suggested introducing the 2000-ruble note in 2017. It is interesting that the design issue will be solved in accordance the results of a public survey. Yet, it seems to me that there will not be much dispute about the city to be shown on the banknote. Everyone knows that there is a song “Vladovostok-2000” by the famous Russian rock group Mumiy Troll from Vladivostok. If the variant with Vladivostok wins, this will be the first precedent when an association with a banknote appeared before the emergence of an image on the banknote.