Ukrainian currency, hryvnia

Ancient hryvnia of silver from times of Kievan Rus

Let`s make a brief excursus into history and perspectives of Ukrainian currency in terms of modern situation. We will acquaint not only with the complicated story of occurence and formation of hryvnias, but we will also give a prognose to its future based on last emergency news of the last days.



Hryvnia (from Ancient Slavic "Gryva" – mane) is weight, weight-monetary and monetary unit of account of ancient Russia and other Slavic lands. In Central and Northern Europe called the "brand". The name "Hryvnia" comes from the ornaments of gold or silver in the form of a hoop that is worn around the neck (on the "nape"). Then it took on a new meaning of the word – was fit a certain amount (weight) of precious metal (silver hryvnia – monetary and weight unit).


Ancient hryvnia of silver from times of Kievan Rus

In the Old Russian state from the XI century were in circulation Kiev hryvnia hexagonal shape, weighing about 140-160 g, served as the unit of payment and means of accumulation before the Mongol invasion. The highest value in the monetary circulation in Russia Novgorod hryvnia had known first in the north-western Russian lands, and from the middle of the XIII century. – Throughout the Old Russian state. It was a long silver rod weighing approx. 204 g Transition from Kiev to Novgorod was chernigovskaya Hryvnia (in the form close to Kiev, and weight – to UAH Novgorod). On the territory of Volga Tatar known as ladeobraznye hryvnia, which are most often Tatar coins XIV century.


Also, further hryvnia gave birth to modern Russian currency of Rouble (from Ancient Slavic "Roubyti" – to hack or to chop). That currency wasn`t substitution of hryvnias but it was a part of it. Hryvnia was chopped for 2 (from other sources for 4) equal parts. In other words rouble is a half or a quarter of hryvnia.


At the time of Mongol invasion hryvnia was subsequently getting out of circulation. Later, in Russian Empire 10 kopeykas were called "hryvennik" or also "hryvna". The attempt to reborn hryvnias had been taken in 1918 by Central Rada. But then it was withdrawed again by Soviet government in 1924.


Modern hryvnia was introduced by presidential decree № 762/96 Leonid Kuchma of 25 August 1996 "On Monetary Reform in Ukraine" published on 29 August. The first batch of banknotes was printed in Canada. 


September 2, 1996 began an exchange coupon-karbovancy into hryvnia at a ratio of 100,000 KRB = 1 UAH. From that day to banks issued only hryvnia. Until September 16 to all payments are accepted and karbovanetses and hryvnia. After this exchange can be made ​​only in banks. Exchange procedure lasted until 1998.


History of exchange rate and prognosis


For about 2 years after the exchange rate of the hryvnia to the dollar remained at the level of UAH 2 UAH to 1 $ (NBU exchange rate at the time of entry – 1.76 hryvnia to the dollar, that was 176,000 coupons). After the crisis of 1998, the rate has fallen to about 5.5 UAH ./$. Since April 2005 NBU maintained a fixed official exchange rate of 5.05 UAH ./$ for 3 years. In June 2008, the official exchange rate changed to 4.85 UAH ./$. After July 2008 the official exchange rate is subject to frequent changes due to the fact that the National Bank of Ukraine has announced the gradual transition from a fixed to a floating exchange rate (according to the decision of the Board of the National Bank). 


In some periods the official rate was significantly different from the commercial, in which it was possible to make an exchange. 


  • In summer 2008, the commercial rate fell to a level of 4.50 UAH ./$ (0.35 UAH. Below the official);
  • in early October 2008 reached UAH 5.15-5.30 ./$. (at 0.25-0.40 UAH. higher than the official). On October 7 interbank trades rate reached 5.5-5.6 UAH ./$, and in exchange offices rate rose to 5.90. The Council of the NBU, the rate changed to 4.95 UAH ./$ and set the official exchange rate of 4.89 UAH ./$
  • At the end of December 2008 the rate reached the level of 7.87 UAH ./$ (on inter-More than 9 UAH ./$, which is 2 times higher than summer course);
  • At the end of December 2009, one hryvnia exchanged about four Russian rubles or 8.00 UAH ./$;
  • During 2010, the hryvnia to the dollar fluctuated in a narrow range of 7.9-8.0 hryvnia for one dollar and at the level of 3.70-3.80 Russian rubles for the hryvnia;

  • In early 2014, the hryvnia exceeded 12 hryvnia for one dollar;
  • New records of hryvnia falling are beating right now. Today, 12 August is new exchange rate record: bid – 12.66, ask – 13.22 for 1 dollar. Hryvnia began to fall extremely fast since end of July 2014. This means inner reserves of currency is exhausted, economy can`t provide decent income, and without external credits our financial system will be crashed very quickly.

graph of august hryvnia fall

Collapse of currency rates just illustrating collossal reduction of economy powers and exorbital level of spending for military activity. Only this information is sufficient to understand that modern Ukrainian government doing slightly wrong things. If say sincerely, they are just destroying our country. But, as always, this is justified by good slogans of democracy, unity and future prospering of Ukraine and by image of outer enemy. 


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