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Russia to Loan $36 Billion to Banks

Russia is planning to loan the country's banks billions of dollars in an effort to keep the economy from stalling under the weight of the expanding financial crisis.

Russia's President Dimitri Medvedev said Tuesday the government will give the banks $36 billion over five years. Most of the money will go to Russia's two largest banks, Sberbank and VTB.

Officials hope the injection of cash will prompt Russian banks to start making loans to businesses that need the money to operate. Like many banks around the world, Russian banks have been reluctant to lend money as the financial crisis has worsened.

The announcement failed to lift Russia's stock markets.

Both leading Russian indexes, the RTS and the MICEX, hit three-year lows in trading today. The two indexes fell more than 18 percent Monday, with the RTS suffering its worst one-day loss ever.