Khakassia is a republic in the Russian Federation located in
south central Siberia with the capital at
Abakan. The majority of the population there are slavs, only a small
minority are khakassy - people using a Turkic language. Prior to 1991 Khakassia was an autonomous oblast
within the Krasnoyarsk Krai, USSR.
The former president of the republic,
Aleksei Ivanovich Lebed, is the younger brother of the
deceased Krasnoyarsk governor, Aleksandr
Ivanovich Lebed, who died in a helicopter crash on April 29,
2002. Aleksandr was one of the most popular men in Russia and a strong
candidate for President of Russia in 1996.
By the autumn of 1996 the government of Khakassia had accumulated huge
debts with their pensioners. In this framework the Counsel of Ministers
decided in September 1996 to issue special "pensioners" money
in the form of 5,000 Ruble banknotes, referred to locally as
"Katanovki". This creative program was designed by Liubov'
Gennadievna Chernova, who was at the time the Head of the Khakassian
Centre for the Payment of Pensions and Subsidies. It has been reported
that Ms. Chernova chose the use of a portrait of
Nikolay Fedorovich Katanov for
"technical reasons and to prevent counterfeiting."
The text on the front of the note reads "obligatory to acceptance in
specialized enterprises and organizations serving pensioners in the
territory of the Republic of Khakassia". In practice it meant that
a pensioner could use them in special shops to buy foodstuffs,
industrial goods and pay the household bills according to the local government.
It should be noted that for many years pensioners in Russia (and before
in the USSR) have been
paid through the post offices.
While the Katanovki "surrogate coupons" were intended to be
used only by the 135,000 pensioners, they apparently experienced
circulation as a local currency. The result of the Katanovki
program, in spite of its deficiencies,
was that by January 1997 the state debt was eliminated and no other
denominations were issued.
An interesting fact is that the person pictured at the right of
the banknote face is Nikolay Fedorovich Katanov who was born on May 6, 1862
in Khakassia. Katanov was a famous 19th century ethnographer and numismatist
who wrote and lectured extensively about this region. He studied coins
from excavated hordes for clues to the history of the Turkic tribes. Katanov died on March 10, 1922 in
Kzsan, Tatarstan. Khakassia is also bordered by the
which also issued
currency in the past.
Our thanks go to numismatist and writer
the excellent background information he contributed to this article.
Another of his articles we have available on this website is
PAPER MONEY CATALOGUES USED BY RUSSIAN
COLLECTORS. Misha is a member of the International Bank Note Society and lives in the Ukraine. He has
contributed a number of articles to the
IBNS Journal and may be contacted at: