Money & Prices in Belarus
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Now you know why Belarusian Rubles are often referred as "hares". The first 1 Ruble banknote was depicting hare on it. You can see other pictures of belarusian money in Belmoney.  We have pictures of animals of a rising size with rising value of money. I think it's a cute idea. It starts with a squirrel, then a hare (equals to one belarusian rouble) and it ends with a buffalo - "zoobr".  Lately with all the hyperinflation thing we ran out of big animals :) Even blue whale is not big enough, so they started to print pictures of official buildings.

There was a 1/1000 denomination of money made in January 2000. Tourists, be sure you can tell old money from new one! The old Belarusian Rubles is not accepted anywhere since January 1, 2001. It can only be exchanged for the new money in special exchange points. Below is a depiction of a New 2000 Belarusian Ruble:

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Belarusian Ruble (BR) Rates

Current Rate of Belarusian Ruble* from Ecopress Information Agency in Belarus

* I can't guarantee that their information is absolutely accurate and up-to-date, but it seems reasonable. Currently the market rate is close to the official exchange rate of National Bank. I am showing below the commercial (black market) conversion rates not the official rate of National Bank. In some years they were coinciding like now (Feb. 2001), but in some years (1997-2000) the official rate of exchange was lower than market rate, and black market hard currency speculation existed.

Date $1 US equals Source of the info Comments
Apr. 16,95

11, 700 BR

private BR - Belarusian Ruble
Aug. 22, 95

11, 500 BR

BISNIS
Nov. 10, 95

11, 700 BR

private
May 4, 96

12, 400 BR

OMRI
Oct. 6, 96

16, 000 BR

private
Feb. 15, 97

22, 380 BR

private
May 17, 97

27, 000 BR

been there myself
Jan. 1, 98

42, 000 BR

private
Aug. 1, 98

60, 000 BR

private (approximately)
Sep. 1, 98

90, 000 BR

private (approximately) Up 50% after Russian ruble collapse.
Jan.1, 99

255, 000 BR

Belmoney
Feb. 1, 99

290, 000 BR

Belmoney
Mar. 1, 99

400, 000 BR

Belmoney
Apr. 1, 99

405, 000 BR

Belmoney
Jun. 21, 99

440, 000 BR

Belmoney
Sep. 1, 99

505, 000 BR

Belmoney
Oct. 1, 99

520, 000 BR

Belmoney
Oct. 11, 99

540, 000 BR

Belmoney
Oct. 19, 99

625, 000 BR

Belmoney
Nov 1, 99

700, 000 BR

Belmoney
Nov. 12, 99

740, 000 BR

Belmoney
Jan. 27, 00

890 NBR

Belmoney Denomination 1000 BR = 1 NBR
Feb. 27, 00

905 NBR

Belmoney NBR - New Belarusian Ruble
Mar. 27, 00

920 NBR

Belmoney
Jun.. 16. 00

979 NBR

Eco Press Informational
Oct. 13, 00

1,048 NBR

Eco Press Informational
Feb. 21, 01

1,238 NBR

Eco Press Informational
May 4, 01

1,335 NBR

Eco Press Informational

The graph is shown in Old Belarusian Rubles - 1000 Old BR = 1 New BR. There was a big hyperinflation jump in 1991-1992. BR was stable for more than a year in 1995-96 and then started to rise. This seems to be a usual thing that happens to money after hyperinflation jump. The same dynamics was with Polish zloty, the same stuff happened to Russian ruble. The first kink in slope on August 1998 was a result of Russian Ruble collapse. This Russian crisis sent aftershock all over the world. I'm not sure about the origin of the next two kinks in March 99 and October 99. It could be related to Russian ruble again. I'd appreciate your comments on this.

Right now the official value of BR is some 50% lower than the black market one. President Lukashenka is trying to hold the value of BR with laws against currency "speculation". And so there is a deficit of hard currency.

An interesting analysis of economics in Eastern Europe is made by NATO Economic Colloquium.

Prices in Belarus

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Some Basic Food Prices

August 22, 2000 Kamarouski market, Minsk.
1 US Dollar = 994 New BR
1 kg of bread = 170 New BR
1 kg of potatoes = 80 - 200 New BR
1 kg of beets = 200 - 250 New BR
1 kg of cabbage = 100 - 130 New BR
1 kg of onions = 220 - 280 New BR
1 kg of apples = 200 - 1000 New BR
1 kg of lemons = 800 - 1000 New BR
1 kg of oranges = 480 - 900 New BR
1 kg of bananas = 420 - 560 New BR
1 L of mayonese = 170 - 270 New BR
1 L of vegetable oil = 510 - 1000 New BR
1 kg of butter = 1600 - 1700 New BR
1 L of sour cream = 700 - 1000 New BR
1 kg of wheat flower = 320 - 370 New BR
1 kg of sugar = 480 - 520 New BR
1 kg of beef meat = 1300 - 2500 New BR
1 kg of pork meat = 1400 - 3000 New BR
1 kg of chicken = 1500 - 1900 New BR
1 kg of sausage = 1200 - 2380 New BR
10 eggs = 346 - 501 New BR

January 2000 - There was a 1/1000 denomination of Belarusian Ruble: 1000 BR = 1 New BR.

February 15, 97: Hrodna, Belarus
1 kg of bread = 4,600-6,000 BR
1 L of milk = 4,600 BR
1 kg of meat (pork) = 34,000 BR

November 10,95. Hrodna, Belarus
1 kg of bread = 2,100 BR
1L of milk = 2,400 BR
1 kg of meat (pork) = 31,000 BR

February 20,95. Hrodna, Belarus
1 kg of bread = 1,000 BR
1L of milk = 600 BR
1 kg of meat (pork) = 30,000 BR

Keep in mind that average monthly salary is around $80, and average pension for retired is about $40. President Lukashenka manages somehow to keep retired people above starving level. His methods are questionable, but it's easier to judge than to be in his place.

A shot of Kamarouski Meat Market by Carlo Morlacchi.


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