Currency Reform of 1895-97

Currency Reform of 1895-97


in Russia the introduction of gold currency. It was prompted by the unstable currency system, which had restrained the development of domestic and foreign economic ties, as well as the influx of foreign capital.

Preparations for the currency reform of 1895-97 began in the 1880’s. In a report to the tsar of Feb. 4, 1895, Minister of Finances S. Iu. Witte proposed to introduce gold into circulation. By 1897, through increased taxes, production and purchases of gold, and foreign loans, the State Bank held 1,095,000,000 rubles in gold—an amount virtually equal to the bank notes circulating in the country (1,121,000,000 rubles). By the ukase of Jan. 3, 1897, entitled “On the Minting and Circulating of Gold Coins,” new face values of 15 rubles and 7 rubles 50 kopeks were imprinted on gold coins (the 10-ruble imperial and 15-ruble half-imperial), while the old weights of the coins were maintained—that is, in effect, a devaluation of the ruble by one-third was carried out. The gold ruble was adopted as the currency unit.

On Aug. 29, 1897, a ukase was promulgated giving the State Bank the right to issue bank notes. Credit notes guaranteed by gold holdings were put on an exchange basis with gold (up to 1914). By the ukase of Nov. 4, 1897, 5-ruble gold coins were minted; by the ukase of Dec. 11, 1898, 10-ruble coins. The ukase of Mar. 27, 1898, retained the silver money introduced by the Kankrin reform, as well as copper money, as coins of exchange. Minting of 15-ruble and 7-ruble 50-kopek coins ceased as of 1899, and in 1910 they were withdrawn from circulation. The currency regulations issued on June 7, 1899, unified all the currency reform statutes of 1895-97.

As a result of the reform, the pattern of monetary circulation in Russia changed. Paper money amounted to 91.7 percent of the money total in 1895, but by January 1914 gold made up 21.2 percent of the total money, silver 5.4 percent, and paper money 73.4 percent. The currency reform of 1895-97 strengthened the foreign and domestic exchange value of the ruble and also aided in the development of capitalism.


Materialy po denezhnoi reforme 1895-1897. Moscow, 1923.
Vlasenko, V. E. Denezhnaia reforma v Rossii 1895-1898. Kiev, 1949.