Assignatsii

Assignatsii

 

(in Russia the term dates back to the time of Peter I; through the Polish asygnacja it derives from the Latin assignatio), Russian paper money, first issued in 1769 during the reign of Catherine II.

The direct cause of the issuance of assignatsii was the war with Turkey. The output of assignatsii and their exchange were carried on by specially instituted assignatsii banks in St. Petersburg and Moscow. In 1786 these assignatsii banks were converted into a unified state assignatsii bank, which began to issue assignatsii of a new type, on paper with more complicated watermarks. The growth of the output of assignatsii, especially in connection with the growth of expenditures for military purposes and for the support of the dvorianstvo (nobility or gentry) landowning system, led to a sharp decline in their value. Efforts during the reigns of Paul I and Alexander I to curb inflation did not permit an increase in the exchange rate for assignatsii. Under Nicholas I a basic restructuring of the monetary system was carried out, and a silver monometallism was established. From Jan. 1, 1849, assignatsii were voided.

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