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Currency
All payments in Russia are made in roubles. However, in many shops you may find the prices indicated in a foreign currency or so-called conditional units (y.e.), which are usually equal to US dollars. The rate of the rouble changes all the time, which is why conditional units are used. One US dollar equals approximately 29.50 roubles (on the 5th of December 2003). In shops the exchange rate may be a bit higher than the official.

You can change your money for roubles in commercial banks, numerous exchange offices and in hotels. Just try to find a board with the inscription "Currency Exchange" on it. If the currency exchange office is a small one, it will only accept US dollars or Euros. The currency exchange office is the safest place and you can also reconvert roubles. However, you may be approached by "fartsovchiki" (gamblers), who may offer their services for currency exchange. We advise that you avoid these people, who may easily cheat you.

There are some hotels and restaurants where it is possible to pay foreign currency (in cash), but this is only likely to be in US dollars or Euros.

Most hotels, shops and restaurants, especially those located in the city center, accept all major credit cards. Sometimes you may be asked to show your passport or any other document to identify the credit card. Travellers cheques are not that popular in Moscow, but you can always exchange your cheques and get cash in the exchange offices of your hotel or bank.

At the moment Russia uses 10-, 50-, 100- ,500- and 1000- rouble notes and the following coins: 1 kopeck (kopeika), 5 kopecks, 10 kopecks, 50 kopecks, 1 rouble, 2 roubles and 5 roubles. It is useful to have a few coins in a pocket.
 
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