I've been meaning to create a Journal entry about this subject for some time, but me being me, I've dragged my feet for over a year. Recent events in and around Ukraine such as a Russian attempt to organize a coup, and Russian forces (again) amassing at Ukraine's boarders have brought this topic back to mind for me, and I figure it's better to write about this sooner rather than later.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's subsequent independence, there has been an uneasy peace. "Peace" was convenient for Russia, as the early Ukrainian government was corrupt and easily manipulated, with many longtime Soviet individuals able to remain in control as oligarchs. These pseudo-officials managed to milk untold sums of money, property and power from the Ukrainian people and by 2013 then President Yanukovych was looking to officially strengthen Ukraine's ties to Russia after reneging on a Association Agreement with the EU. Shortly after this the Euromaidan protests began, followed by the Revolution of Dignity and by 2014 Yanukovych was impeached, fleeing to Russia. Finally, whilst Ukraine was in a state of unrest and confusion, Russian forces seized on the opportunity to invade and annex Crimea.
Having newly taken Crimea, Russia saw fit to rub this in Ukraine's face via some old fashion propaganda on their currency. A year after annexing Crimea, maybe less, The Russian Federation issued a 100 ruble banknote commemorating Crimea. The banknote depicts a view of the Monument to the Sunken Ships located in Sevastopol Bay at the southern tip of Crimea, along with a depiction of a portion of the painting "Russian squadron on the Sevastopol roads" by I.K. Aivazovsky. The back depicts a view of the decorative castle Swallow's Nest located in Gaspra on the Crimean Peninsula. The National Bank of Ukraine quickly banned the 100 ruble note along with "any currencies on which are illustrated maps, symbols, buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, landmarks, landscapes, or any other objects, situated in the territory of Ukraine occupied by Russia.". The note was part of a commemorative set which included coins, or it could be purchased separately.
In 2017 Russia saw fit to, again, use a depiction of the Monument to the Sunken Ships in Sevastopol, but this time on its 200 ruble circulating note. The front of the note depicts the Monument, the back depicts a view of Tauric Chersonesos, a fifth century B.C. Greek city on the shores of the Black Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and located on the Crimean Peninsula. Again, the NBU was quick to issue a statement denouncing the note and prohibiting its use along with other currencies in any monetary transactions "transactions using banknotes and coins issued by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in case they contain images of maps, symbols, buildings, monuments, archeological or historical artefacts, and landscapes of any other objects located on Ukrainian administrative territorial units occupied by the Russian Federation.".
Most recently, in 2018, the Russian Federation issued a banknote commemorating the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Sounds innocent enough but on the back of the note is a depiction of a soccer ball and on the ball is a map of the Russian Federation with annexed Crimea included. Once again, the NBU denounced the banknote and banned it from use in Ukraine while at the same time requesting that Ukrainian financial institutions accept 100 & 200 ruble notes that were not subject to any bans. Depicted on the front of the note is a boy with a ball under his arm and a goalkeeper diving for a ball. On the back is a football used as a symbol of the globe and football fans.
As mentioned, also banned are several coins. Here are the ones I know of.
I have the three banned banknotes in my collection, they are very attractive notes and the 2015 note fits into one of my signature sets I'm working on, but I have to admit that I feel a little conflicted about it. My affinity for Ukrainian coins and banknotes gives me pause about collecting these, but they are part of the modern history of Ukraine and a vital part of any comprehensive Ukrainian banknote collection that strives to tell a complete narrative. A narrative that may see Ukraine Back In The U.S.S.R. sooner rather than later, but hopefully not.