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Russia Sets Up Tighter Watch Over Biggest Banks

Moscow, July 30 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Central Bank said today it is creating a new department to monitor the daily activities of the country's biggest banks.

The department, with the acronym OPERU-2, will begin by monitoring five banks and expand to watch over several dozen during the next few months

Denis Kiselyov, the department's director, said that it will monitor Russia's "biggest banks, on which the stability of the entire banking system and financial markets largely depends."

The department will aim to prevent banking crises and avoid the need for costly government bailouts, he said.

Russia's banking industry has run into trouble in recent months. Correspondents say that the Central Bank has revoked more than 400 bank licenses this year for reasons including fraud and mismanagement.