During the Great Depression, Joseph Stalin decreed all hard-currency silver coins in circulation be replaced by base-metal issues. This met with resistance. People hoarded the silver coins, and bank cashiers responsible for their confiscation were not as successful as Stalin expected. ”The results of the battle against the coin shortage are almost nonexistent,“ Stalin wrote to his protégé, V.M. Molotov. The agents ”probably clamped down on a few cashiers and let it go at that… It is thus important to fundamentally purge the Finance Ministry and Central Bank bureaucracy. Definitely shoot two or three dozen from these, including several dozen common cashiers.“ Stalin’s cold-blooded strategy worked. This silver 20 kopek coin is among the few, rare survivors of this period. The Soviets never again issued a circulating silver coin.