Ukraine telephone tokens

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Ukraine regained independence in 1991. The Ministry of Transport became the regulator and supervisor of the telephone network. Its name was changed under President Leonid Kuchma to the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2004. In 2010, President Viktor Yanukovych changed its name to the Ministry of Infrastructure

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From 1993, the executive organisation is Ukrtelekom. Originally, it was a state agency. Its most urgent task was reform international calls, as these were at the time all routed through Moscow. In the period 1995 to 1996, 20 provincial (oblast) level telephone networks, the Crimea and Sebastopol networks were re-structured as daughter companies of Ukrtelekom.

Planning for the privatization of Ukrtelekom (Ukrainian) began in 2009, leading to a rebranding to Ukrtelecom (English). Under President Yanukovych (a native of Donbass), Ukrtelecom was transformed into a joint-stock company in 2011 and sold to ESU, a subsidiary of EPIC Invest, an Austrian investment company. In 2013 ESU on-sold Ukrtelecom to SCM, owned by a native of Donbass, Rinat Akhmetov and the richest man in Ukraine. The legitimacy of these sales was unsuccessfully challenged in court.

All token issues are likely to date from the 1990s. Ukraine experienced hyperinflation until 1997, necessitating the use of tokens for coin operated machines, including public telephones. Between 1991 and 1996, when Dniprotelekom was the last local company integrated into Ukrtelekom, the issuers of telephone tokens were individual city administrations. National issues may date from 1993 to around 2000. By that time, public telephones were gradually converted to the use of chip cards.

Below is a list of cities that issued telephone tokens with the city names in Ukrainian (linked to Wikipedia) and Russian. The tokens with city name use Russian spelling. Many Russian telephone tokens remain unidentified. Possibly, some of these are Ukranian. In addition, generic tokens and altered Russian coins are known and could have been used in Ukraine.

Principal sources:

  • B. E. Sacharov: Телефонные жетоны СССР, стран СНГ, Грузии, Латвии, Литвы и Эстонии (Telephone tokens of the USSR, CIS countries, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia). Kyiv 2012
  • Savonin & Is'kov: Телефонные жетоны СССР, России, СНГ, стран Балтии (Telephone tokens of the USSR, Russia, CIS, Baltic countries. Moscow 2009