Russian Phrases For Dummies
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Traveling is expensive, so it's crucial to have a good understanding of Russian phrases for money and banking. While in a Russian -speaking country, the best way to ensure that you get the most for your money is to be familiar with these common financial terms.

Exchanging money

Each country has a different monetary system. The official Russian currency is the rubl' (roobl') (ruble). Economically, it is almost always best to exchange your American dollars for the local currency. In fact, exchanging money is the most common banking need for travelers.

Much like a dollar equals 100 cents, one rubl' equals 100 kopyejki (kah-P'EHY-kee) (kopecks).

Big Russian cities are saturated with punkty obmyena (POONK-tih ahb-M'EH-nuh) (currency-exchange offices), which can also be called obmyen valyuty (ahb-M'EHN vuh-LYU-tih). You can usually find a punkt obmyena in any hotel. The best kurs obmyena valyuty (koors ahb-M'EH-nuh vuh-L'OO-tih) (exchange rate), however, is offered at the banki (BAHN-kee) (banks).

Some handy phrases to use when you exchange currency include

  • Ya khochu obmyenyat' dyen'gi. (ya khah-CHOO uhb-mee-N'AHT' D'EHN'-gee) (I want to exchange money.)

  • Ya khochu obmyenyat' dollary na rubli. (ya khah-CHOO uhb-mee-N'AHT' DOH-luh-rih nuh roob-LEE) (I want to exchange dollars for rubles.)

  • Kakoj kurs obmyena? (kuh-KOHY koors ahb-M'EH-nuh?) (What is the exchange rate?)

  • Nado platit' komissiyu? (NAH-duh pluh-TEET' kah-MEE-see-yu?) (Do I have to pay a fee?)

To talk about different numbers of rubles, you need to use different cases, such as dva rublya (dvah roob-L'AH) (2 rubles) in the genitive singular, pyat' rublyej (p'aht' roob-L'EHY) (5 rubles) in the genitive plural, and dvadtsat' odin rubl' (DVAHT-tsuht' ah-DEEN roobl') (21 rubles) in the nominative singular.

Using the ATM

The fastest way to access your account is the bankomat (buhn-kah-MAHT) (ATM). Bankomaty (buhn-kah-MAH-tih) (ATMs) are usually found in banks. Use the following phrases as a guide to the phrases you'll see on the bankomat screen:

  • vstav'tye kartu (FSTAHF'-t'eh KAHR-too) (insert the card)

  • vvyeditye PIN-kod (vee-DEE-t'eh peen-KOHT) (enter your PIN)

  • vvyeditye summu (vvee-DEE-t'eh SOO-moo) (enter the amount)

  • snyat' nalichnyye (sn'aht' nuh-LEECH-nih-yeh) (withdraw cash)

  • kvitantsiya (kvee-TAHN-tsih-yuh) (receipt)

  • zabyeritye kartu (zuh-bee-REE-tee KAHR-too) (remove the card)

Paying with credit cards

Although kryeditnyye kartochki (kree-DEET-nih-eh KAHR-tuhch-kee) (credit cards) and bankovskiye kartochki (BAHN-kuhf-skee-eh KAHR-tuhch-kee) (debit cards) have long been established in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, in other cities your attempts to pay with a credit card may not be as welcome. If you plan to pay with a credit card, it's worth asking a few questions first.

  • U vas mozhno zaplatit' kryeditnoj kartochkoj? (oo vahs MOHZH-nuh zuh-pluh-TEET' kree-DEET-nuhy KAHR-tuhch-kuhy?) (Do you accept credit cards?)

  • Ya mogu zaplatit' kryeditnoj kartochkoj? (ya mah-GOO zuh-pluh-TEET' kree-DEET-nuhy KAHR-tuhch-kuhy?) (Can I pay with a credit card?)

  • Vy vzymayetye komissionnyj sbor za oplatu kryeditnoj kartochkoj? (vih vzih-MAH-eh-t'eh kuh-mee-see-OH-nihy zbohr zuh ahp-LAH-too kree-DEET-nuhy KAHR-tuhch-kuhy?) (Do you charge a fee for paying with a credit card?)

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Andrew Kaufman, PhD, is currently a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. He holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, and he has recognized success as both a published scholar and an innovative, award-winning teacher of Russian language, literature, and culture at some of the country’s top universities. To learn more about Dr. Kaufman, please visit his website at

Serafima Gettys, PhD, earned her doctorate degree in Foreign Language Education from Gertzen State Pedagogical University, Leningrad, USSR. She is currently a Coordinator of the Foreign Language Program at Lewis University, where she also teaches Russian. Prior to coming to Lewis University, she taught Russian at Stanford University. Gettys is also a member of a number of professional language associations.

Nina Wieda is a doctoral student in Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University in Chicago. A trained linguist with an MA in Social Sciences, Nina also has a book of poetry published in Russian, and a number of scholarly articles on Chekhov and contemporary drama published in English.

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