Russia's banking system has surpassed its pre-crisis level (before August 1998) on all main indicators. This was announced yesterday at a meeting of the Council of the Association of Russian Regional Banks by Alexander Murychev, the association's president. He said that at the moment the main development trend of Russian banks is the concentration of capital. The thirty largest banks hold 68% of all assets in the banking system. According to Murychev, almost the entire inter-bank and currency market in Russia is built on the operations of these banks. He also said that the concentration of capital is accompanied by an expansion of major banks into the regions, where new banks are no longer being set up and the number of credit organisations is declining.
Murychev believes that despite the favourable external economic situation, domestic conditions will not allow the high rate of growth of the banking system to continue. He predicts that this figure will not exceed 4.5% in 2003.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea