1) The Russian benchmark stock index, the MICES, is down 10% or more (it has been down as much as 11.2% earlier today), the biggest drop in at least five years (depending on the close).The Ukrainian currency and its markets, along with stocks in its neighbors Poland and Hungary, are down sharply as well, but of course the West can help out at a relatively small cost, given the size of their economies. No one is coming to the financial rescue of Russia here. For what it's worth, global financial experts (it is hard to write those words with a straight face) are confident that they do not see the "contagion" spreading to worldwide financial markets, which are down 1-2 percent so far today.
2) The Russian ruble reached all time lows against the euro and the dollar. To prop it up the Russian central bank—on a "temporary" basis—raised interest rates 1.5%, from 5.5 to 7.0%, and spent $10 billion toward the same end. This will significantly hamper growth in Russia unless they lower those rates fast.
3) Shares of the corporation Gazprom, the Russian Federation's gas monopoly, are also down 10%.
4) The yield the Russian government has to pay on its state bonds is near a record high.
5) Foreign capital reserves for Russia are at a multi-year low.
Please read below the fold for more on this story.
The Forbes contributor makes one other excellent point. Whereas the Soviet Union was essentially economically self-sufficient when it invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Hungary in 1956, Putin's Russia is decidedly not, as the data above make clear. It is fully integrated into world trade markets as well, something that offers the West real leverage. Peter Weber has neatly laid out the steps the West can take, and why they can cripple the Russian economy.
Vladimir Putin may be "out of touch with reality," and "in another world," as German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted after speaking with him. In this world, however, money talks, and money may well prove to be what reins in the man who would recreate the Russian Empire.
PS-I just found this photo on Facebook: