Market and speculations
On August 4, 1914 Austro-Hungary, the same as other countries, stopped converting notes into gold coins, that immediately undermining public trust in paper money. People concerned about the unstable political situation and failures on the front kept gold and silver coins in some safe boxes, thus causing the so called “coin hunger”. Being afraid of economic collapse, local authorities were forced to issue different bonds — credit money emitted by local authorities and institutions for a short-term period. During the period of the Russian occupation there appeared, besides Austro-Hungarian coins and bank notes, copper and silver coins as well as paper money of the tsarist Russia which were used to pay salary to the military and civil servants, to buy forage and foodstuffs for the army. Occupational authorities set an understated exchange rate for Austro-Hungarian crowns into Russian roubles. At the beginning of the war it made up 2 crowns 51 hellers per one rouble, while in the new conditions it made up 3 crowns 30 hellers. In the war-time Lviv some minor swindlers or quick-thinking profiteers who made the best of economic instability for their own enrichment and got profit even in the war period could be found almost everywhere. The city residents were in great indignation about second-hand dealers — women buying foodstuffs from peasants for a song and selling them at triple the price on the local markets. In spite of the authorities’ striving to set the fixed prices for the goods of prime necessity, it was impossible to follow everything and to punish the dealers. Therefore, quarrels between sellers and buyers, loud cries and fights during the war became commonplace on Lviv markets.