The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
Foreign Exchange

Tenge places seal on break with Russia

In the summer and autumn of 1993, fewer than a dozen officials worked feverishly in complete secrecy to save Kazakhstan from raging post-Soviet inflation and introduce its first-ever national currency.

In Almaty, the country's economic capital, Kazakh central bankers last month reminisced with foreign colleagues about those heady days at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the November 15 1993 introduction of the tenge, which means "money" in Kazakh.

Grigori Marchenko, governor of the National Bank, recalls that things were so bad that "we had crisis committees, and their job was not to get the economy to grow, but to slow the decline". In Almaty, president Nursultan Nazarbayev set up a secret committee to oversee the introduction of the tenge. Notes were covertly printed in the UK and shipped to Kazakhstan in June 1993.

"We started with a countdown calendar of 45 days," he says. But halfway through that calendar, in Moscow, a group led by president Boris Yeltsin, and including prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and central bank governor Viktor Geraschenko, offered to include Kazakhstan and three other former Soviet republics in a new Russian rouble zone.

"They even told us they had printed one trillion new roubles for Kazakhstan," Marchenko recalls.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree