Leaders of Luhansk, Ukraine, Change Their Official Currency to the Russian Ruble

Leaders of Luhansk, Ukraine, Change Their Official Currency to the Russian Ruble

iStock.com/ArtemSam

Officials in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine have made the Russian ruble the official currency of their breakaway territory, starting today. The move is the latest indication that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is incrementally gaining more control over parts of Ukraine, a former member of the Soviet Union, and that he is making steady progress in his drive to rebuild the Soviet empire.

“The basic monetary unit in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic from March 1, 2017, will be the ruble,” the region’s Council of Ministers announced on its website on Monday. The council said that the move is designed to “take measures to stabilize the financial and monetary system” in the territory.

The decision comes just days after President Putin signed an executive order saying Russia officially recognizes passports, birth and death certificates, diplomas, vehicle registrations and other documents issued by the Luhansk People’s Republic as well as the Donetsk People’s Republic. This decision allows people living in the two eastern Ukrainian territories to travel, work and study in Russia.

Russia has not officially recognized the two self-proclaimed republics as independent from Ukraine. Yet it has already annexed Crimea from Ukraine and has sent Russian troops to assist separatists in Ukraine. Putin’s new executive order amounts to a de facto recognition and locks Luhansk and Donetsk into Russia’s orbit.

Ukrainian leaders have condemned these actions, with one official calling them a “deliberate escalation” of the Ukraine crisis. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Putin’s decision to recognize documents from the breakaway regions “fundamentally contravenes the logic of the Minsk agreements.” The most recent of these agreements, called Minsk ii, was signed in the Belorussian capital in February 2015, and called for deescalation in eastern Ukraine.

More than 9,700 people have been killed in the Ukraine crisis since violence broke out in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Pro-Russian rebels, supported by Russian personnel, later staged an insurgency in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Back in 2008, after Russia had invaded the former Soviet nation of Georgia, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said the move signaled that Putin’s Russia had entered into a “dangerous new era.”

He wrote:

Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more! It is critical you understand the meaning behind this attack. …Vladimir Putin … really is the dictator of Russia. He called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.” That gives you some insight into his thinking. He is trying to resurrect the Soviet empire. … The Soviet empire is making a comeback! … Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.

As Mr. Flurry forecast in that article, a crisis did break out over Ukraine a few years later. That conflict is still raging today. The decision of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic to adopt the Russian ruble as its official currency and Moscow’s decision to recognize documents from the two eastern Ukrainian regions show that Russia is emerging victorious in that ongoing conflict. These moves reveal that Russia is “trying to resurrect the Soviet empire,” as Mr. Flurry emphasized—and those efforts are proving successful.

To understand what will result from Russia’s increasing adventurism, watch Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s recent Key of David episode “The Prophesied Prince of Russia.”