Kherson is the only regional capital in Ukraine that Russia managed to occupy after it attacked Ukraine in February. Unsurprisingly, the situation in Kherson is not ideal. Pro-Russian forces want to use the Russian ruble in Kherson.
Nevertheless, the city’s Ukrainian Ihor Kolykhaiev, who has been overthrown by Russian authorities, said that he doesn’t believe this will be possible while the only working banking system in the region is Ukrainian, not Russian.
Many people in Kherson are trying to find small ways to defy the Russian forces – like exchanging any rubles they receive back into Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia. However, there are very few ways to safely snub the Russian army when it occupies your streets.
Russian ruble and Ukrainians
Z signs – a Russian pro-war symbol – have appeared around Kherson. Moreover, Russian flags hang above Kherson’s government buildings.
Russia’s decision regarding the hryvnia shows that it wants to control the financial system as well.
As stated above, the situation in the city is not ideal. Many people feel nervous even speaking to a journalist. Around 40% of the population left the city according to the mayor.
Kherson’s mayor is skeptical of whether Russia can successfully introduce the ruble. Ihor Kolykhaiev said that “if they do try to introduce the ruble zone here, we would be plunged into 1992 when Ukraine gained its independence”.
In the meantime, people continue to leave Kherson. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to leave the region. Currently, the only road available is through Crimea which means traveling into Russian territory. But many Ukrainians are not ready to enter the Russian territory.
For those still in the city, there are deep fears about the future. The city’s mayor is afraid of a humanitarian disaster. Unfortunately, the war is not over yet. So, nobody knows for sure for how long Russia would continue to occupy Kherson and other parts of Ukraine.