For a comprehension of the currency system of Russia, and the controversies which centred round it during our period, it is essential to go back to the Currency Reform of 1897, and consider the main changes brought about by it. By the Law of 7 June, 1899, the Russian monetary system was declared to be based on gold and the monetary unit for the Russian Empire to be the rouble, which had to contain a requisite amount of fine gold. The National Debt of Russia, from its origin in 1769, up to the middle of the nineteenth century, owed its growth largely to the expenditure necessitated by recurring foreign wars or internal disturbances. In the reign of Paul I, Russia assumed part of the debts of the Polish crown, and this, added to a further issue of assignats, brought the national finances into a state of disorder.