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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Central Bank Lauds Ruble Reform

Shrugging off reports of confusion over price increases and refusal by businesses to accept new rubles, the Central Bank gave itself a pat on the back Monday for its organization of the ruble's redenomination.

The bank's board of directors concluded the changeover was conducted "without failures, in a well-organized fashion," the bank's first deputy chairman Arnold Voilukov said after a meeting of the bank's board.

Instances of shops balking at new rubles were "extremely rare" and "the population's assessment generally has been positive," he said.

ORT television over the weekend quoted officials at the federal trade inspection body, Gostorginspektsiya, saying some shops and catering firms were "violating pricing rules and refusing to accept the new ruble denominations," Agence France Presse reported.

Voilukov said it was Gostorginspektsiya's responsibility to take action in such instances. Such glitches have "nothing to do with the redenomination," he said. Reported price rises too had nothing to do with redenomination and happen all the time, he said.

Responding to suggestions that some pensioners were getting frustrated trying to figure out in old rubles how to pay their utilities bills calculated in new rubles, Voilukov said that was Sberbank's problem.

According to Voilukov, the total amount of money in circulation at the start of this year stood at over 137 billion redenominated rubles. In the first eight days of 1988, the Central Bank had received 7.5 billion old rubles from commercial banks while putting 5.8 billion new rubles into circulation, he said.

This pattern would ensure there were no grounds for inflationary fears arising from the "doubling" of currencies, Voilukov said.

"If it goes at this rate, all the old money will be replaced within the first 3 1/2 to 4 months," he said.

On Jan. 1, the Central Bank embarked on a nationwide program to remove three zeros from the country's banknotes while preserving their nominal value.

Under the plan, the old rubles will continue to circulate alongside the new ones while being gradually replaced by them throughout 1998. After this year it will still be possible to exchange old for new rubles at designated banks.

Relatively few new banknotes have been sighted by the public so far, as commercial banks have shown little haste in placing orders with the Central Bank for newly redenominated rubles. Voilukov's only complaint with the reform Monday was that, after President Boris Yeltsin announced the redenomination in August, bank staff had only about half the time ideally needed to prepare for the change.