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Currency revaluation in Belarus: What do Belarusians and foreigners think about new money with four zeroes cut?

Belarus is celebrating Independence Day this weekend. Own currency and the National Bank are just the most important attributes of an independent country. On July 1, Belarus redenominated (revaluated) its currency dropping four zeroes. Our correspondent Yana Shipko has found out how life has changed with the transition to banknotes and coins without four zeros.

From midnight, July 1, Belarus has been in the new monetary dimensions.

The Rumyantsev family from Russia comes to have a rest in Minsk every year. At this time, the visit coincided with the historic date.

Yevgeny Rumyantsev, tourist (Russia):
This is a significant event, because it is somehow difficult to count that amount of money, thousands and millions. This was especially hard for visitors.

Already in the first hour after the transition to the new currency, exchange rates and the prices at gas stations were converted into a new format.

Trains arrived in Minsk on schedule that night. Ticket offices made a one-time break at midnight. However, it lasted only 10 minutes.

Svetlana Kozel, senior ticket cashier of the Minsk branch of Belarusian Railways company:
We were prepared adequately and all passengers departed on time, without any complaints.

Passenger:
Time for a change. I think these changes will be very good for the country.

From cash-in-transit services, the revaluation is a challenge: with coins introduced, their bags have become five times heavier. Previously, the average weight was within 1 kilogram.

Alexei Zubarev, a senior officer, cash-in-transit company:
The workload has increased due to the redenomination. Everything runs in normal mode. I think we will cope with everything on time.

These days, cash-in-transit officers are welcome visitors in every bank. This is a question of prestige to as soon as possible provide customers with new money. The ATM is charged such special cassettes inside each of which there are a couple of thousand notes. Although banknotes were printed in 2009, collectors know what their smell is.

Alexei Zubarev, a senior officer, cash-in-transit company:
Printer's ink.

The first place foreign visitors go to in Minsk is a currency exchange point. But for many, the redenomination was a surprise.

The publisher Jann came from the French Riviera. He exchanged his euros immediately for an impressive stack of brand new 20-ruble notes. He will stay here for a week to write an article about our country for his magazine.

Jann Bernard, editor (France):
This is good for the future, that you have switched to the new money. This has a positive impact on the economy, business and tourism. I will not only write about this event, but also take with me some notes as a souvenir.

In public transport and shops, you can still pay in old and new cash, and this will be the case until late December 2016. 

Yulia Goroshko, seller:
With the help of the calculator and the cash machine everything is smoothly.

In food departments, where a large number of people go every day, two specialists work at a cash machine. Coins are slowly filling up buyers' purses. A very simple decision in the transitional period is to pay by card.

Buyer:
Of course, it is more convenient to pay by card, but I think that notes is also a good option, not that difficult. The faster we make this transition, the better.

Buyer:
We go shopping every weekend. We feel this redenomination. The zeros were removed and it is easier to work with money now. Yes, sellers are sometimes lost, go crazy a bit and are even afraid to take new money. But in general it's ok.

Nina Klippa, individual entrepreneur:
I work without a calculator and I am 75! We learned everything and we know it all by heart.  I will save the first Belarusian money, 10 rubles or five. 

The scale of Belarusian currency is now about that of the Polish one.

Meanwhile, tourists these days are taking away the new Belarusian money as a souvenir. This group of German tourists begins the day with a discussion of the main news. They have already touched new Belarusian money and will take it as souvenirs.

Evelyn, tourist (Germany):
A year ago I was a millionaire. In every shop I had to think how much each thing was. Now we just look at them and see in a flash.

Gisbert, tourist (Germany):
Beautiful bills, and that is much easier for tourists. We have exchanged money and made purchases. Everything is fine. Before the arrival, we communicated with the Embassy of Belarus in Berlin and we were aware of the redenomination. And we prepared for it.

Currency revaluation in Belarus: What do Belarusians and foreigners think about new money with four zeroes cut?