Belarussian Wildlife, European Hare: 1 Rubles (Belarus, 1992)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This early post-Soviet, Belarussian banknote is the 2nd 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 (seen here) and 3 Ruble (Eurasian Beaver) denominations. All denominations of the 25 May 1992 issued notes featured Pahonia (the chaser), on their reverse side.


Observe

The observe depicts a leaping European Hare, a species native to the majority of the European continent. The note's "One Ruble" 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 "Five Rubles", reinforcing the note's value. This pattern overlaps a border, which the Lynx 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.


Reverse

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 "One Ruble" 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 European Hare

A male European Hare at Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium. © Hans Hillewaert
A male European Hare at Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium. © Hans Hillewaert

The European Hare as commonly known as brown hare, are native throughout much of Europe. With the expectation of the British Isles, in addition to large portions of the Iberian and Scandinavian peninsulas. Although the species range does extended into the northern portions of Western and Central Asia (including the Caucus). This range has begun to expand into Siberia, due to climate change.


European Hares are amongst the largest species of lagomorphs (hares, rabbits, pikas), with exception of the American White-tailed Jackrabbit. The average European Hare has head to body length of 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) with a weight of 3 and 5 kg (6.6 and 11.0 lb). Their long hind feet have an average length of between 14 and 16 cm (5.5 and 6.3 in). While their ears range from 9.4 to 11.0 cm (3.7 to 4.3 in) from the notch to tip.

Throughout the majority of the year European Hare will feature a grizzled yellow-brown coat. With a white underside, with black along the tail and ear tips. Unlike most rabbits and hares, their fur does not entirely change white for the winter. Although the fur along their sides will take on a grayish appearance, with some white patches.


A large portion of a hare's time is spent foraging on in open fields, with scattered brush. To avoid predators such as Eurasian Wolves and Lynx. European Hare are nocturnal by nature, feeding on wild grasses and weeds at night. During daytime hares will lay partially hidden in a depression in the ground called a "form".

A hiding European Hare at Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium. © Hans Hillewaert
A hiding European Hare at Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium. © Hans Hillewaert

When alerted they raise their ears, communicating to other hares through a variety of visual signals. Which includes thumping their hind feet, to warn of nearby predators. When evading a predator hares can run at 70 km/h (43 mph). Relying on quick speed and nimbleness to outrun and maneuver predators over the open fields. Although may travel into brush patches to quickly hide.


Hares are often attracted to farmers fields, due to abundant food and lack of predators. Making them particularly destructive to crops such as soy, clover, carrots and sugar beets. Hares will eat these crops in preference over cereal grains when available. As the before mentioned crops are high in valuable energy and more easily digested.

A group of four newborn hares in a form.
A group of four newborn hares in a form.

European Hare breeding season spans from January to August. Peak season commonly known as "March Madness" spans from March to April. When normally nocturnal males are seen actively searching for a mate during the day. Hares often have litters that range of sizes of 3 or more. Which are born after 41-42 days, with an average weight of 130 grams (4.6 oz).


The newborn hares known as leverets are born fully furred and resemble small adults. They are fully capable of leaving the "form" at birth. This is a natural adaptation due lack of protection offered by the shallow form. This differs from rabbits, whose young are born in more protective burrows. The young disperse during the day and return to nurse at sunset. The mother hare makes a guttural call, when calling her young.


European Hares mature rapidly relative to most mammals. Their young can begin eating solid food after 2 weeks. Although are not fully weaned until 4 weeks, after which they become independent. Often moving to locations which they have previous explored, during their daylight travels. Males will often travel the furthest from their birth place.


Despite this early independence, male European Hares reproduce at age 6 months. While females take slightly longer at 7-8 months. Thus repeating the cycle and ensuring the next generation of the species. Some hares have lived up to a quite impressive 12 years.


1992 First Belarusian Ruble Gallery

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

Additional Notes

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

  • European Hares believed to have been introduced to Britain by the Ancient Romans.

  • There is lack of archaeological evidence of European Hares, prior to the arrival of the Romans.

  • Hares have longer legs and ears than rabbits, with a preference for tougher foods.

  • Hare litter sizes become progressively smaller, as mating season draws to a close.

  • Female European Hares can have up to 3 separate litters per year.

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