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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Karbovanets No Longer Legal Tender

KIEV -- Ukrainian leaders breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday as the two-week transition period for the introduction of the new hryvna currency came to an end with a minimum of problems.

At one minute past midnight Tuesday, the old karbovanets officially ceased to be legal tender and the hryvnia, the name of the currency used during the Kievan Rus empire 1,000 years ago, took over.

"It went smoothly. It went better than we expected," Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Pynzenyk said.

Public fears of an immediate plunge in the hryvna's value failed to materialize.

It has been unchanged on the Ukraine Interbank Currency Exchange at 1.76 to the dollar since its Sept. 2 debut.

One hryvna was valued at 100,000 karbovanets, the interim currency introduced in 1992, whose value sank with hyperinflation and whose worthless small denominations were recycled to make toilet paper.

The newspaper Molod Ukrainy published an opinion poll showing 56 percent of those surveyed believe the hryvnia would herald economic progress, compared with 23 percent a year ago.