Russia » Politics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Ruble shames dollar and euro

New Russian money is too tough for counterfeiters

The Russian Central Bank introduces modified 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 ruble notes next week. New notes will be applicable to payment simultaneously with current notes, which are planned to be gradually withdrawn from circulation. There will be no money exchange. New modified ruble notes will preserve all patterns and images on both sides. They will have a more reliable anti-counterfeit protection. Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank administration Arnold Voilukov ordered to develop the new protection system several years ago. Voilukov approved the outlines and administered the implementation of the project.

Was it worth it to spend money and efforts to modernize the Russian money, if it is already complicated to make a fake ruble in comparison with the US dollar, for example? You said a year ago the number of counterfeit US dollars in the overall circulation could be calculated in percents, as opposed to meager volumes of fake Russian rubles. In other words, they make fake rubles a hundred times less frequently in comparison with fake dollars.

The Central Bank should take care of the national currency, first and foremost. The situation is not as simple as it may seem to someone here. Russian counterfeiters are becoming more and more active, despite law-enforcement bodies' efforts. Interpol recommends all countries to introduce new modified notes every five or seven years, because criminal groups learn to make high-quality fakes over this period of time. They do not use copying machines anymore – they launch the industrial production of counterfeit money. Needless to mention, it is a very serious matter. When we say the share of fake rubles in the overall volume of the Russian currency makes up a hundredth of a percent, it does not mean that little. To be more precise, it goes about over 100 million counterfeit rubles.

Has it ever been possible to find any industrially manufactured fake ruble notes in Russia?

Yes, it has. Criminal groups use offset printing machines, for example. Such machines improve quality a lot. They put fake rubles in the national economy in an industrial scale. In the beginning, fake rubles appeared in one or several regions, and it was easier for law-enforcement agencies to trace and capture criminals. The situation has changed nowadays: fake 500-ruble notes have recently been found in almost all Russian regions. They are industrially made money. Fake 100-ruble notes usually circulate in Siberia and in the Far East. They probably originate from a different criminal group. Of course, it is not hard for our experts to distinguish fake notes from authentic ones, but common people put fake money in their wallets without any suspicion.

That is why it was decided to start the production of modified ruble notes, which would be impossible to fabricate at least during the coming seven years. Central Bank experts have recently presented the renewed Russian money to their foreign colleagues in Italy. They evinced great interest in the so-called moire, or watered silk stripe. A vertical stripe can hardly be seen on the right side of the note; the stripe is filled with thin parallel lines. If you look at a note directly, the stripe will look like a one-color stripe. But if you turn the note in your hands, you will see multicolor stripes on the moire field – a yellow, a pink, a blue stripe. This is the new invention of our specialists. Russia is the only country, which uses this protection on the national currency.

But the '100' image on US dollars also changes its color from green to gray.

Only two colors change on the American currency. Criminal groups have mastered this technology already. There are four changing colors in the watered silk field, and they change in a specific way.

How many levels of protection will the new Russian money have?

The total number of protection means exceeds 20, including the ones a very narrow circle of specialists knows.

Will the modified ruble surpass the protection of the Swiss frank?

Not yet, but the new protection will be more reliable in comparison with what other countries practice with their national currencies. The new ruble will be more protected than the euro.

Speaking about the euro. We have had a call from a Russian man, who returned from Europe. A part of the euro notes that he brought home to Moscow (100-euro notes, mainly) was fake. He took 500-euro notes to his trip to Europe, but they gave him fake change. Newspapers write European states have been inundated with counterfeit euro notes. Why did the new European money prove to be so unreliable?

I expressed my concern about it in private talks with bank specialists, before the euro cash was put in circulation. I told them the protection of the new European currency was not strong enough. Now they are working on it, although there are objective difficulties. The fact the European currency is printed in12 EU states is the key disadvantage. It is almost impossible to achieve the absolute identity of notes under such a condition. There are only two factories producing the paper for the Russian ruble in Russia – in St.Petersburg and Krasnokamsk (the Ural region). A fresh batch of printed notes arrived from Ural several years ago. Our test machines rejected all of it as defective. There was no flaw found, but the detailed chemical analysis showed the water in Krasnokamsk slightly differed from the St.Petersburg water. This difference changed the paper quality. Now we print high-value notes in St.Petersburg, and small-value notes in Krasnokamsk.  Only two factories print ruble notes in Russia – in Moscow and in Perm.

Arnold Voilukov was interviewed by Vitaly Golovachev

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