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Kuchma: We introduced hryvnia after checking its stability, but it could done year earlier – Kuchma

KYIV. Sept 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Second President of Ukraine (1994-2005) Leonid Kuchma says that monetary reform has become one of the key events not only in reforming the national economy, but also in establishing Ukrainian statehood, but the hryvnia could have been introduced a year earlier.

"We introduced hryvnia when we were sure that it would be stable and strong, that it would stand. But now I will say what few people know: hryvnia could have been introduced a year earlier. Immediately after my election as president, I set up a monetary reform commission. And already in September 1995, head of the working group Anatoliy Stepanovych Halchynsky reported to me that everything was ready, but the leaders of the Cabinet and the National Bank insisted that the introduction of hryvnia be postponed for a year – simply, to put it mildly, we made assurance. "But it was a real currency: the hryvnia’s exchange rate against the dollar was almost unchanged for two and a half years – two to one," Kuchma was quoted as saying in a comment to ICTV Facty by his spokesperson Darka Olifer on her Facebook page.

The second president said that even when the global economic crisis occurred in 1998, Ukraine resisted, and Russia then declared a default.

"I have already said that I consider those who are depicted on our money to be the most outstanding Ukrainians, including Volodymyr the Great, Yaroslav the Wise, Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Ivan Mazepa, Ivan Franko, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Taras Shevchenko, Lesya Ukrainka, and Hryhoriy Skovoroda. "From an economic point of view, the new denominations of the banknotes reflect rising inflation, so we would like a number of ‘heroes on money’ to end with Volodymyr Vernadsky for as long as possible," Kuchma said.