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RedKestrel

How much was 1000 rubles worth

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I’m really loving the career. I’m into the second phase of the battle of Moscow now and starting to rack up the awards...including those 1000 ruble kill bonuses.

 

so now what I want to know is, how much was that worth back then? Not like an exact amount or anything but what did it get you? A new pair of shoes, a night on the town, food for a few months? 

 

Also at some point I’d like to see the option to click a button to take the squadron out for a night of drinking in the career lol. Gotta use up that cash and might as well improve morale for the squad! There can be hangover update with the weather report the next day!

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Seeing as the fight was ongoing, 1000 rubles didn't buy much for the pilot at the front. During the retreat it was Soviet policy to take or destroy anything that could be used by the Germans and the civilian populations were either pressed into combat service or running for their lives. This meant there wasn't much to buy and few to buy it from. The consensus seems to be that the pilots would mostly send their pay back home. There was a form that enlisted and officers would fill out to direct the army to send money to either a spouse or close relative. The pay for the enlisted wasn't great, enough for a loaf of bread or a little soap, items that were in short supply and constant demand. Officer's families were better off, the pay being higher with rank.

 

I did some poking around and found that many of the bonuses didn't get paid out at all. There are various reasons given for this but mostly it came down to there not being enough money to pay all these bounties. It wasn't just for fighter pilots and bomber gunners. Tank crews were 'paid' for each tank killed or artillery gun destroyed, ship's crews were 'paid' for each enemy vessel sunk and so on. There were also issues of high mortality rates and spotty record keeping interfering with payment as well. 

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For what it's worth (which is not a lot, for several reasons) the official Soviet Ruble - U.S. Dollar exchange rate during WW2 was 5.3 Rubles per Dollar. As for what the average wage was at the time (a little more useful as a comparison) I've not been able to find a figure as yet.

 

Edit: Found a source for wages: " the average monthly wage of a Soviet public sector employee was around 570 rubles in 1946". 

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/mharrison/public/jce2011postprint.pdf

Edited by AndyJWest
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Not a lot of shops in the Soviet Union, 1941-2s, and those that were around required ration cards for everything, except for the Collective Farm Markets which were effectively a temporarily permitted black market.  Most workers ate in company canteens.  Pricing becomes a bit meaningless in a command economy, but someone wrote in a letter that 20 roubles got 2.7kg of potatoes from the peasants.  I think Vodka was also fairly available for sale.

 

Source: "The Taste of War - WW2 and the battle for food"  Lizzie Collingham. Excellent book on an under-researched subject.

 

1kg potatoes has about 750 kcal, so 1000 roubles would buy you  135kg = 101,000 kcal  ie about enough to feed an adult male for a month if he is not doing heavy manual work.  

 

 

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Well, in 1943 a thousand Rubles was worth 1/135 of a brand new T-34, and considering how workers at individual factories or citizens of smaller towns often banded together to spend their meager savings on "buying" a tank for the army, 1000 rubles can't really have been that great of a sum, certainly not beyond the reach of your average farm- or factory worker. 

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32 minutes ago, Finkeren said:

Well, in 1943 a thousand Rubles was worth 1/135 of a brand new T-34, and considering how workers at individual factories or citizens of smaller towns often banded together to spend their meager savings on "buying" a tank for the army, 1000 rubles can't really have been that great of a sum, certainly not beyond the reach of your average farm- or factory worker. 

 

The "price" of a T-34 is meaningless in a command economy.  The soviet government really only had to pay for anything if it came from abroad: with UK aid and later US lend lease they did not even have to do that.  The problem in war time is that there is nothing to buy: this was true in the UK too, and even to much lesser extent in the US, since all production is geared to the military and consumer goods production stops.  Pretty much all that is left to buy is food, for those that do not get it as part of their job.

 

If AndyJWest's figure of 570 roubles a month can be roughly extrapolated to a war time factory worker, that is about  77kg of potatoes, which is about   1,925 kcal per day. Bare subsistence. If peasants and workers could scrape cash together, it could only be because they were getting free or below market price food in canteens. 

 

These savings collections, like war bonds, are not about paying for anything: they are just a way of extracting liquidity to prevent inflation in the prices of whatever is still available, while drumming up motivation in the civilian workforce. 

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13 minutes ago, unreasonable said:

 

The "price" of a T-34 is meaningless in a command economy.  The soviet government really only had to pay for anything if it came from abroad: with UK aid and later US lend lease they did not even have to do that.  The problem in war time is that there is nothing to buy: this was true in the UK too, and even to much lesser extent in the US, since all production is geared to the military and consumer goods production stops.  Pretty much all that is left to buy is food, for those that do not get it as part of their job.

 

If AndyJWest's figure of 570 roubles a month can be roughly extrapolated to a war time factory worker, that is about  77kg of potatoes, which is about   1,925 kcal per day. Bare subsistence. If peasants and workers could scrape cash together, it could only be because they were getting free or below market price food in canteens. 

 

These savings collections, like war bonds, are not about paying for anything: they are just a way of extracting liquidity to prevent inflation in the prices of whatever is still available, while drumming up motivation in the civilian workforce. 

 

The T-34 at the time didn't really have a "price", which is why I put it in quotation marks, when I talked about people "buying" a tank for the army, but it certainly did have production costs, and these were well known and closely watched by the authorities and they were indeed measured in Rubles. Also, I think you are underestimating the degree to which the Soviet economy was still functioning on a day-to-day basis. Yes, pretty much everything was rationed, but it still had to be bought, wages were still being payed and earned and goods were still being bought and sold both on the black market and in regulated shops. Thus the price of normal commodities was far from inconsequential, even if it doesn't make sense to put a price tag on war equipment. I only really used the production costs of a T-34 to give an idea, that it was not beyond the means of a group of factory workers to pool together the production costs of 135,000  Rubles, again to put into perspective how much 1000 Rubles were at the time. 

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I could be completely and utterly wrong here, but from my quick bit of research, 1000 rubles period 1939 was around $10 US at that time.

 

 I`d love for some to double check this.

 

Oh wait, just seen AndyWest`s post.

Edited by seafireliv

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A packet of sawdust cigarettes and a fumble under Lenins shadow ;)

 

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23 minutes ago, sparty72 said:

A packet of sawdust cigarettes and a fumble under Lenins shadow ;)

 

Kinky!

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Found this:

Quote

 

Peasants sometimes sold in the bazaars of potatoes and vegetables, but they are the most popular and marketable commodity was shag. Sold its 7-8 rubles. a glass. In the year of tobacco (cigarettes are inaccessible luxury) sold more than 100 mln. Rub.

The farmers are much less sold on kolkhoz markets than citizens. Those of them who had vegetable gardens and livestock sold at the market potatoes, eggs, milk. In the summer of 1941 on the markets still remained the pre-war level of prices. Milk sold at 3-4 rubles. per liter, a kilogram of meat for 18-24 rubles, potatoes -. for 2-2.5 rubles. per kilo. Such prices were held in Chelyabinsk and other cities in the region. The highest prices were in Kyshtym and Zlatoust, but there was less potatoes. I must say that the price "bite" peace time, seemed to be very high.

Since August 1941 began the rapid growth of the high cost of the markets. In October 1941, the cards that are guaranteed to receive a minimum of products were introduced in the cities of the region. Additional food should buy on the market. Who want to buy something edible for money it turned out to be much more than a product. Maximum price war reached in May 1943, when a kilo of pork bought for 400 rubles, beef -. For 320 rubles, flour -. Over 230 rubles, potatoes -. For 76 rubles, cabbage -. 70 rubles. Liter of sunflower oil worth 500, milk - 76, ten eggs - 180 rubles. At these prices in the six Chelyabinsk "flea market" in May 1943 it was sold 76 liters of sunflower oil; Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Zlatoust, Troitsk Kyshtym (in cities with a combined population of about a million inhabitants), 13.7 thousand. dozen eggs were sold, 36 tons of meat, 170 thousand. L. milk.

I must say, the monthly income of people was small. Workers in munitions factories received 600-700 rubles, the workers of other branches and subsidiary industries -. 300-600 rubles, locomotive engineers up to 1 thousand rubles, a doctor at the hospital -... 600-800 rubles. depending on the position, the typist in the institution received 200-250 rubles worker -. 160 rub. In this portion of earnings on account of mandatory and "voluntary" payments.

 

http://archive74.ru/tseny-voennogo-vremeni

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On 6/6/2018 at 6:27 AM, unreasonable said:

Not a lot of shops in the Soviet Union, 1941-2s, and those that were around required ration cards for everything, except for the Collective Farm Markets which were effectively a temporarily permitted black market.  Most workers ate in company canteens.  Pricing becomes a bit meaningless in a command economy, but someone wrote in a letter that 20 roubles got 2.7kg of potatoes from the peasants.  I think Vodka was also fairly available for sale.

 

Source: "The Taste of War - WW2 and the battle for food"  Lizzie Collingham. Excellent book on an under-researched subject.

 

1kg potatoes has about 750 kcal, so 1000 roubles would buy you  135kg = 101,000 kcal  ie about enough to feed an adult male for a month if he is not doing heavy manual work.  

 

 

Must of been wonderful living off potatoes.

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The West still does live off potatoes.... just now they're deep fried in poison and cost 20x what a potato does.

Or the other two best options of peasant gruel...... wheat and corn.

Edited by DD_Perfesser

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20 hours ago, DD_Perfesser said:

 

Based on this post your 1000 roubles air kill was pretty much like getting a month's minimum wage in most modern economies - however on the flipside you had nothing to spend it on. I'll have to tell my pilot Eugene Orlov he's gonna be a millionaire by war's end if he carries on his kills/month ratio! 😄 

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7 hours ago, Talon_ said:

 

Based on this post your 1000 roubles air kill was pretty much like getting a month's minimum wage in most modern economies - however on the flipside you had nothing to spend it on. I'll have to tell my pilot Eugene Orlov he's gonna be a millionaire by war's end if he carries on his kills/month ratio! 😄 

 

I think that is about right - but since we are talking about young airmen here, for RPG purposes I would pretend to split it three ways: one third on vodka to be shared with my flight or squadron, one third for whatever I can find from the peasants to give as a romantic present to that cute girl in the squadron admin section, and the remainder to be sent home to mum.

 

No point saving it.

Edited by unreasonable

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In reality, certain portion of the money (dont remember exactly) went directly to servicemans ГОСБАНК account. 

ГОСБАНК = Государственный банк СССР = in modern terms central bank

 

Maybe of interest for someone, Red Army servicemen monthly wages during war in rubels:

Private                                     17 r.  ( those serving in Strafbats also received wage of 8.5 r.)

Sergeant (3 years service)  200 r.

Platoon commander            620 - 800 r.

Company commander         950 r.

Battalion commander         1100 r.

Commander of army           3200 r.

Commander of Front          4000 r.

 

As a curiosity, pilot who received HoSU Golden Star, had monthly wage of 2000 r. which was many times more then his commanding officer.

Pilots were also rewarded for sorties. As example to encourage fighter pilots to carry bombs, 2 sorties with bombs were equal to 3 sorties without.

One of the highest individual rewards was 10000 rubels given to Baltic See Fleet airman M.Borisov for damaging german battleship Schlesien on 4th May 1945. It had to be scuttled by Kriegsmarine.

Edited by Brano

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Unreasonable hits the nail by the head - rubel wasn't free market money we are accustomed to, and USSR wasn't the place where everything could be bough for right sum of money, so rubels "worth" was more fluid. Some goods were rationed, some were provided for free, some were simply not available, and if they were it wouldn't be certain that buyer would accept payment in rubels. We should ask how good and widely accepted money rubel was in USSR, and what was available.

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I wonder if the sum was really paid off,  like,  the CO actually handing a bunch of money in proper bills. In those stern days I imagine there were no mood for anybody demanding anything,  if the superiors merely said "sorry,  no actual money available for now,  here's a pretty certificate". So I am guessing maybe a lot of those bonuses went unpaid anyway. 

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I've read accounts of soldiers and pilots not getting the bounty pay, understanding it to be the morale boosting carrot that it was and nothing more. Most people didn't complain about getting screwed by the government in the Soviet Union, much less during war time. It was a quick way to get on all the lists you don't want to be on and then get to spend 20 or so years in camp or having to serve out the war in a strafbat, or as long as they could survive in one of those units. Others saw fighting the war as either a patriotic duty or a mater of survival so the pay didn't matter all that much to them. In any event I don't think many, if any, of these bounties were actually paid out. Perhaps some of them for the more high profile fighters, the Heroes of the Soviet Union Gold Star types and so on.

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5 hours ago, danielprates said:

I wonder if the sum was really paid off,  like,  the CO actually handing a bunch of money in proper bills. In those stern days I imagine there were no mood for anybody demanding anything,  if the superiors merely said "sorry,  no actual money available for now,  here's a pretty certificate". So I am guessing maybe a lot of those bonuses went unpaid anyway. 

 

Paper money is just a "pretty certificate". ;)

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4 hours ago, Disarray said:

I've read accounts of soldiers and pilots not getting the bounty pay, understanding it to be the morale boosting carrot that it was and nothing more. Most people didn't complain about getting screwed by the government in the Soviet Union, much less during war time. It was a quick way to get on all the lists you don't want to be on and then get to spend 20 or so years in camp or having to serve out the war in a strafbat, or as long as they could survive in one of those units. Others saw fighting the war as either a patriotic duty or a mater of survival so the pay didn't matter all that much to them. In any event I don't think many, if any, of these bounties were actually paid out. Perhaps some of them for the more high profile fighters, the Heroes of the Soviet Union Gold Star types and so on.

 

 

Thats what I thought! This is pretty predictable to have happened, but I knew of no accounts. 

 

2 hours ago, unreasonable said:

 

Paper money is just a "pretty certificate". ;)

 

A certificate of a certificate! The latter could be traded for socks in a queue,  though. 

 

Come to think of it,  the medals would have been preferable, even for pratical reasons. In a society "without" classes and property, distinction would be another currency.

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Money was still money and helped to make your standard of living better. Having too much money during Stalin's time had the risk of your neighbor reporting you as a possible "class enemy" so you could be declared a kulak and be sent to gulag, but other than that, money makes the wheels go round, as they say. Wether it meant the ability to buy more coupons or pay to a craftsman that coulddo something to you or "forgetting" some money on a clerk's table that could improve your place in a queue to get a phone installed to your home or get a permission to have a vacation at a Black Sea resort - it enabled you to have a bit better standard of living.

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I read that often all the days kills would be given to pilots killed so their families would recieve a large lump sum to help them through, by the deceased's squadron mates. Also, the top Soviet aces often gave away kills to newer pilots(much like Mannock did in the earlier war), both to boost confidence and to increase the chances of the kill being accepted, since the Soviet policy on kill counting was very harsh and to bag 6 planes in a day would probably have led to suspicions of overclaiming.

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On 6/7/2018 at 11:47 AM, DD_Perfesser said:

The West still does live off potatoes.... just now they're deep fried in poison and cost 20x what a potato does.

Or the other two best options of peasant gruel...... wheat and corn.

I ate so many potatoes when I was growing up as a kid because we were a meat and potato society

I only eat potatoes 3 times a year now give me salad or anything else but potatoes as a side dish.

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On 6/7/2018 at 10:47 AM, DD_Perfesser said:

The West still does live off potatoes.... just now they're deep fried in poison and cost 20x what a potato does.

Or the other two best options of peasant gruel...... wheat and corn.

 

The poison is super tasty though!

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