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Rouble trouble in Crimea as region changes currencies

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Rouble trouble in Crimea as region changes currencies
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There was currency confusion in Crimea as the Black Sea region annexed by Russia swapped the hryvnia for the rouble.

For now prices are being marked in both, with an exchange rate set by the newly created Bank of Crimea which is taking its cue from the central bank in Moscow.

But different banks, shops and restaurants displayed different rates and some businesses will not accept roubles.

Economist Ashot Barsyegyan said: “There will be a period of adaptation and business will suffer. There are some links between the Crimean and Ukrainian economies – production links, consumer links and financial links.”

The official rate is 3.8 roubles for one hryvnia, but in places it is as low as 2.6 roubles.

Another problem, bank cash machines in Crimea dispense Ukranian hryvnias and the banks have put limits on withdrawals.

Credit card payments are also difficult. Shop manager Elena Knyazeva in Simferopol said: “Cards unfortunately still don’t work with roubles, but we hope the banks will change that so people can pay in roubles with cards.”

Another bone of contention is pay for civil servants and pensions in Crimea.

Russia has said they will be in roubles, but initially not at the same levels as public sector workers and pensioners get in Russia – that is promised for some time in the future.