Country: Belarus
Code: BYR
Symbol: Br

The ruble is the official currency of Belarus. It is subdivided into 100 kopecks, although the kopeck is not used today in standard transactions. The current currency is the second introduction of the ruble since Belarus declared independence in 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The ruble is issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, which was originally established as the Belarusian division of the State Bank of the USSR. The State Bank was the sole national money-issuing centre for the Soviet Union. Under the major reorganization of the Soviet banking system in 1987, the local Belarusian banks and their respective branches of the State Bank were given autonomy to operate as self-sufficient financial centres. In 1990, the offices of the State Bank were officially named the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, but they operated nearly the same as they had previously.

The National Bank was founded with three primary objectives: ensure the stability and purchasing power of the new Belarusian ruble, develop the banking system and develop an efficient, reliable payment system. The first ruble was introduced in 1990 but was not put into circulation as a series of coins and banknotes until 1992. Belarusians used Soviet and new Russian currency for the two years before their currency was issued. The first Belarusian ruble’s value was set at 1 Belarusian ruble: 10 Soviet rubles. From the inception of the Belarusian ruble, factions of the government pushed to integrate it with the Russian ruble or unify the two currencies of Russia and Belarus.

During the first decade of independence, the Belarusian ruble, along with most CIS currency, was greatly devalued. Barring any talks of unifying the Belarusian and Russian currencies, a new Belarusian ruble was introduced in an attempt to stabilize the economy. The second ruble was introduced in 2000 at the rate of 1 new ruble: 1000 old rubles. Eight years after introduction, the Belarusian ruble faltered and was greatly devalued. After Russia hiked oil and gas exports to Belarus, it was decided that all ties to the Russian ruble would be cut in favour of a new link to the U.S. dollar. Subsequently, the value of the ruble dropped by 20 percent in 2009 and then, by another 56 percent in 2011.