Soviet ruble: the money to end all money

Lenin gave up the fight against money early on. He made it instead a tool for Communist cause

Lenin tried to enforce abolishment of all money in 1918, along with nationalization of women. People in his entourage who had a clue, stalled the plan. Instead, the Communist started printing money.

Hyperinflation and the general collapse of economy led to a spread of barter trade. If you are a Communist and you have power, you hate barter trade: people go about arranging things without you and there´s no way you can insert yourself in the process without starting to shoot people. Worst of all, it´s very hard to levy taxes when people don´t have money.

After a few years of getting salaries in grain, cloth and propaganda leaflets, Communists saw the light and reintroduced money. As born-again monetarists, they hit the ground running, with a currency unit that was tied to gold standard. Here´s the legendary golden ruble (called “chervonets”):

Cash proved to be king. The national economy recovered overnight. The Communist got their taxes. During the next 15 years the USSR used the money to buy from the US and Germany all we needed to build the mightiest military in history that crushed Nazis and made half the world a Soviet backyard.

No wonder that no one else in the USSR ever talked again about abolishing money.

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