You will need lots of rubles as most goods and services, by law are sold only for rubles, even to foreigners. US dollars circulate as a second currency only in a few sectors of the economy, although many Russians hold dollars as a hedge against a depreciating ruble. Some elements of the tourist industry, although illegal, demand payment in dollars, and few refuse dollars when offered. Other currencies - Deutsch marks, Swedish kroner and Finn marks - are more difficult to use.
What dollar bills to bring. Bring along all denominations ($1's, 5's, 10's, & 20's) for cash outlays and $100's for changing money. The bills should be in good condition without writing or marks on them, as soiled bills are not accepted.
Traveler's Cheques and Credit Cards. For information on cashing traveler's cheques, see TRAVELER'S CHEQUES; on receiving cash advances on credit cards, see CREDIT CARDS; for wire transfer of money, see BANKS.
Official Currency Exchange Offices, are called "Obmen valyuty". Now there are literally hundreds of official "exchange points" scattered throughout the city, in hotels, stores, and banks, especially if they previously accepted foreign currency. At these official offices - often branches of banks - you can "officially" change money and receive the proper receipts, which may be required to take some types of purchases out of the country.
TYPNote: A passport is usually required to fill out the proper documentation.
Exchanging worn-out U.S. Currency. Many exchanges will not accept worn, torn or old US bills. Here you can change them.
New Ruble Currency and Coins: Starting January 1, 1998, old bank notes were exchanged for new ones at the ratio of 1000 old rubles to 1 new ruble, thereby knocking off three "zeros" from all prices. Everywhere all the prices are given in old and new money, which are supposed to differ by 1 000 points and all cashiers are required to post which monetary units are used for prices - even though it is rather obvious.
During all 1998 old and new bank notes will both be accepted as a means of payments including making bank deposits. After that, old bank notes can be exchanged without any limitations up until the end of 2002.
The following bank notes and coins are currently in circulation:
New bank notes (1997): 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 rbls;
New coins (1997): 1, 5,10, 50 kopeks and 1, 2 and 5 rbls. The 50 kopeck coin is most used.
TYPNote: All pre-1993 bank notes and coins are invalid.