Political Economy of Introducing New Currencies in the Former Soviet Union
LINDA GOLDBERG, BARRY W. ICKES, AND RANDI RYTERMAN
Many countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) have strong incentives to introduce independent currencies. At the most basic level, an independent currency is an important symbol of national sovereignty. Moreover, an independent currency may enable a country to pursue an independent monetary policy. Already, new currencies have been introduced by Estonia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, and Lithuania. Sovereign currencies or some form of coupon systems are at least under consideration in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Uzbekistan.
Beyond the symbolic and initial political importance of introducing a national currency, this action also can have very important economic implications. In Section I of this chapter, we argue that the likely consequences of adopting independent currencies in the FSU depend upon, (1) the pattern of implicit inter-republican transfers from trade, payments; and monetary systems, and (2) the likely role of seignorage rents in financing the fiscal expenditures of independent republics. 1____________________