My short answer: Nothing of significance will create a dent in Russia’s economy.
Think about it this way:
- Suspending Russia from the G8 Summit and placing a visa ban against Russian politicians are merely symbolic gestures and do not seem to affect Russia in any symbolic way.
- Even the sanctions on trade will not cause much harm (as only 2 percent of Russia’s exports got to the U.S. and mostly includes petroleum products, and only 5 percent of total imports from U.S., including vehicles, agricultural products, chemical products and civilian aircrafts, etc). They can always procure them from other countries.
- Russia can survive by forging a close alliance with China. They are not allies the way the U.S. and European Union are, mainly because Russia expects China to have a go at Russia’s Far East at some stage. However, tactical needs for survival can trump the strategic concerns. That can result in close and truly cooperative alliance of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, perhaps Mongolia, some others, with China building high-speed railways all the way to Sevastopol. Russia can also ignore concerns about Iran and throw its support behind Iran’s Shiite corridor all the way to Lebanon. Overall, it can do a lot of things the U.S. doesn’t want it to do. Of course, some Ukrainian nationalists would want the U.S. to endure significant costs and losses to get them back Crimea, which they lost through corruption and sheer nationalistic stupidity. However, U.S. politicians are elected to advance U.S. interests, so any objective observer would expect them to stop posturing the moment the public lost any interest and get on with their primary job. While they can decide that applying even more severe sanctions is, in fact, in U.S. interests, I seriously doubt that.