The country of Belarus was established after the Russian revolution. Like many countries in the Soviet Union, the people in this area tried to establish an independent country in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. It didn’t work and it was subsumed into the Soviet Union in the 1920’s. The area had been dominated by Prussia, Poland, Lithuania and Russia over its history. It was not until the fall of the Soviet Union, that the people were able to truly establish an independent country and with it, its own currency, the Ruble.

Minsk, Belarus
Source: AS

After independence, Belarus maintained one of the closest links to Russia and did maintain the name of the currency as Kopecks and Rubles. It has maintained a strong Eastern Orthodox Christian identity, and many of its banknotes show this by highlighting churches and basilicas. 

Belarus Sheet of 28 Coupons | 1992 | P-A12a.2
Source: Banknote World Educational

Post Independence Belarus Currency

Belarus 50 Rublei | 1992 | P-7 | First Generation |
Source: Banknote World

Shortly after its independence, the government issued two series of Bond Coupons. In 1992, these were retired and replaced with the first series of Belarusian Ruble currency. They were very simple, with little security features. Some people liked them because there are large images of animals including rabbits, squirrels, beavers, wolves, and a reindeer. During its early years, Belarus experienced an unstable economy and high inflation. As a result, the government added large denomination rubles in 1994 (20,000, 50,000 and 100,000). This series included images of important religious sites. In addition, the print quality and security design definitely improved, too.

Belarus 100,000 Rublei | 2005 | P-34a |
Source: Banknote World

In 1998 – 1999 they added more denominations including a 1 Million (P-19) and 5 Million Ruble (P-20). The following year (2,000) the Central Bank updated the designs slightly and created its first ‘Commemorative’ Series. In this case, ‘commemorative’ means they overprinted the notes with the word Millennium near the watermark area.

Modern Series

It wasn’t until 2016 when Belarus Ruble banknotes adopted a more modern and secure design. Thomas De la Rue began printing the rubles and as a result, one can see a dramatic upgrade in design, quality and security. For example, the 2016 10 Ruble (P-38) is a beautiful banknote. It clearly highlights Belarusian culture and religious symbols. There is beautiful scroll work and a synergistic design linking the offset and intaglio prints. The detail of the books and the cross are impressive. The bank sold this series as a 7 piece collector set. I would not be surprised to see a very nice commemorative in 2021 that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Central Bank. If De la Rue prints this one too, I am sure it will be a great example.

Belarus 5 Rublei | 2009 – 2016 | P-37 | Recent Series of Rublei |
Source: Banknote World

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