Belarussian Wildlife, Eurasian Beaver: 3 Rubles (Belarus, 1992)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This early post-Soviet, Belarussian banknote is the 3rd denomination of the First Ruble (1992). The First Ruble was introduced due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1991. The Belarussian Ruble replaced the previous Soviet Ruble, on 25 May 1992. These early banknotes are notable for featuring the nation's wildlife.

Currently (2021) these small banknotes are well suited for beginner collectors. As they can be purchased for relatively cheap, the exception being the 1 Ruble (European Hare) and 3 Ruble (seen here) denominations. All denominations of the 25 May 1992 issued notes featured Pahonia (the chaser), on their reverse side.


The observe depicts a pair of Eurasian Beavers, the largest rodent native to Eurasia. The species is common throughout much of the former Soviet Union. The note's "Three Rubles" value is listed at the upper right, in Cyrillic text. Nearby we can see a spiral guilloché pattern radiating outward. If one looks closely they can notice the beginnings of 2 similar patterns near the lower right and center. In addition to the note's multi-tone underprint, these form a simple anti-forgery measure.

Toward the edge of the underprint we can see a cross, symbolically representing the Cross of Saint Euphrosyne. Below is a guilloché pattern with the text "Three Rubles", reinforcing the note's value. This pattern overlaps a border, which the beavers rest on.

This border extends to the right, in the watermark area. Above and below this border are 3 rows of micro-text, reading "Republic of Belarus" in sequence. The micro-text runs the full length of the note. Although can most easily be seen read from the watermark area.

Overall the watermark is simple, being a system of interlocking "S" patterns. Which run the accross the note beyond the designated watermark area. A fairly common practice for early post-Soviet banknotes.


The reverse depicts Pahonia (the chaser), who's featured on the Belarussian Coat of Arms. Pahonia stems from an Eastern Slavic tradition. In which in case of sudden attack, all armed and able men are expected to pursue the enemy. In 1329, this tradition was personified as an image of a charging knight.

Pahonia gained notoriety as the seal of Duke Aleksandr Mikhailovich of Pskov (1301-1339). Who lead the Tver Uprising of 1327, against the Mongol Golden Horde. Which despite being decisively defeated, with the assistance of Ivan I of Moscow (1325-1340 CE). Later inspired the Great Stand on the Ugra River (1480 CE), which finally defeated the Golden Horde.

Despite being a relatively simple banknote, it utilizes extensive guilloché details. Being the most cost-effective and visually appealing option. To prevent the notes from being counterfeited by criminal elements. The guilloché patterns are layered, moving outward from the Pahonia image. In addition to forming borders for the notes text.

The note's "Three Rubles" value is listed at the sides of the Pahonia. While the text below lists the note as a "Payment ticket of the National Bank of Belarus". The note's print date (1992) is listed to the far right. While the he fine text featured above the watermark area reads, "Forgery of banknotes of the National Bank of Belarus is prosecuted by law".

The Eurasian Beaver

The Eurasian Beaver was once widely native throughout Eurasian landmass. Although was nearly hunted to extinction for it's valuable fur and castoreum (scent glands). Fortunately the species has been recovered throughout large portions of Europe, via successful reintroduction campaigns. By resettling groups of beavers from Scandinavia and the former Soviet Union.

The species was once thought to be related to the similar North American Beaver. Although is now understood to be an entirely different species. Due to the species having 48 chromosomes, as opposed to 40. Thus explaining the failure of previous Russian attempts to hybridize the two species. Eurasian Beavers also have a tendency for lighter fur and have larger scent glands.

Another feature that differentiates Eurasian Beaver from it's North American cousin, is its head. Which is larger, less round, and features a longer narrower snout. Leading to them having a "triangular" rather than a "square" nose. Similarly they also feature narrower less "oval-shaped" tails. Notably shorter legs make them less bipedal than North American Beavers. Which are more often seen sitting and standing on their hind feet.

Overall the average Eurasian Beaver head to body length is 80–100 cm (31-39 in). With an average tail length of 25–50 cm (9.8-19.7 in). Healthy adult beavers from Norway are relative heavy, with an average male weight of 21.5 kg (47 lb). While females are larger with an average a weight of 23.1 kg (51 lb). Despite this already impressive weight, larger beavers have been recorded. Currently the largest recorded specimen weighed 31.7 kg (70 lb). Although unconfirmed reports of exceptionally large individuals weighing over 40 kg (88 lb) have been made.

Similar to their North American cousins Eurasian Beaver construct dams. These dams play a key ecosystem role, by expanding natural wetlands. Tree species selected by beavers for removal are prone to coppicing. Causing them to regrow as dense shrubs which provide nesting areas for birds and protection for small mammals from larger predators.

The dams themselves also improve water quality, by collecting excess sediment. In addition to recharging local groundwater tables, in their natural reservoirs (beaver ponds). Additionally gaps within the dam's logs help provide shelters and forage areas for trout and salmon, living along the dam. Occasionally beneficial nutrients/sediment is released, when the beaver pond banks over.

Eurasian Beaver mating season spans late December to May, peaking in January. Unlike most rodents, beavers are monogamous, staying together for multiple breeding seasons. The young beavers known a "kits" are born after 107 days. The average litter is 3 kits, although can range between 2 and 6 kits. The kits reach full maturity between 2 and 3 years, after which they can reproduce.

1992 First Belarusian Ruble Gallery

(Gallery contains all Series 1992 banknotes, "Belarussian Wildlife")


Additional Notes

  • This notes dimensions are 105 x 53 mm or 4.13 x 2.09 in, smaller than a standard US Dollar.

  • Eurasian Beavers are the second largest rodent, behind the South American Capybara.

  • Beavers have a specialize appendix, which allows them to digest bark from softwood trees.

  • A beaver's average daily food intake is approximately 20% of their body weight.

  • Beaver castoreum was traditionally used as an additive in the creation of perfumes.

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