Introducing the “not ruble”

Instilling national pride is important for any country. It can be done through patriotic songs, the erection of monuments, or even fostering a great environment for foreign investment to boost the economy. But don’t tell Russia that. It has chosen a different path – fining officials for using the word “dollar” in any instance when they could ...

607684_ruble5.jpg
607684_ruble5.jpg
This is a 100 Ruble note, the Russian currency. Photographer: Mark H. Milstein/Bloomberg News

Instilling national pride is important for any country. It can be done through patriotic songs, the erection of monuments, or even fostering a great environment for foreign investment to boost the economy. But don't tell Russia that. It has chosen a different path - fining officials for using the word "dollar" in any instance when they could have used "ruble" instead.

Earlier this month, the Duma approved (almost unanimously) a bill requiring Russian ministers to use the word rubles instead of foreign currency terms. Last Friday, Russia's defense minister called the dollar "that thing you are not allowed to say" while discussing sales of military equipment to Venezuela. Today, the economy minister almost used the word dollar, corrected himself by announcing a statistic as "700 million rubles," and then added "30 million not rubles" instead of 30 million dollars. The law also outlaws the use of "euro." Some finance bureaucrats are certainly going to have their work cut out for them, given that customs duties in Russia are listed in euros, and the country's foreign debt is counted in foreign currency. 

Instilling national pride is important for any country. It can be done through patriotic songs, the erection of monuments, or even fostering a great environment for foreign investment to boost the economy. But don’t tell Russia that. It has chosen a different path – fining officials for using the word “dollar” in any instance when they could have used “ruble” instead.

Earlier this month, the Duma approved (almost unanimously) a bill requiring Russian ministers to use the word rubles instead of foreign currency terms. Last Friday, Russia’s defense minister called the dollar “that thing you are not allowed to say” while discussing sales of military equipment to Venezuela. Today, the economy minister almost used the word dollar, corrected himself by announcing a statistic as “700 million rubles,” and then added “30 million not rubles” instead of 30 million dollars. The law also outlaws the use of “euro.” Some finance bureaucrats are certainly going to have their work cut out for them, given that customs duties in Russia are listed in euros, and the country’s foreign debt is counted in foreign currency. 

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