Using Hard Currency
in Saint Petersburg
Shopping with hard currency
Legally the shops and market stalls of Saint Petersburg are not allowed to accept any other currency but the Russian rouble, but they do.
This is a necessity as it allows them to cater for visitors from cruise liners that have very little time and reap no benefit in exchanging money. Various shops selling products not targeting the tourist industry will also accept dollars or euros after little or no persuasion.
Due to the Russian rouble being the Russian rouble, and the repercussions of its collapse way back in August 1998 (and the current economic climate) many, if not all, retailers follow the Euro exchange rate (until the US dollar/ruble rate recovers). This is achieved by displaying prices in conventional units, the Russian abbreviation of which is "y.e.".
The exchange rate for these units, if you haven't already guessed, is the shops own (Euro) exchange rate - a sign showing this rate is displayed publicly and is generally within a few kopeks from the exchange rate found in the banks. When a purchase is made this rate is used to calculate the amount required for the Rouble payment.