Doomsday For Russian Banks

After the carnage, a flashback to a Soviet-style system

Russia's 1,550 commercial banks, most of them technically bankrupt, face a crucial deadline. On Nov. 17, the Russian government will lift the moratorium on debt repayments that it imposed on banks in August. The end of the desperate measure will be the signal for European and U.S. creditors to launch a flurry of lawsuits to recoup up to $30 billion they are owed by the banks. And it will touch off a tumultuous shakeup in Russia's peculiar, postcommunist banking system.

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