WASHINGTON — The most punishing sanctions that U.S. officials have threatened to impose on Russia could cause severe inflation, a stock market crash and other forms of financial panic that would inflict pain on its people — from billionaires to government officials to middle-class families.
U.S. officials vow to unleash searing economic measures if Russia invades Ukraine, including sanctions on its largest banks and financial institutions, in ways that would inevitably affect daily life in Russia.
But the strategy comes with political and economic risks. No nation has ever tried to enact broad sanctions against such large financial institutions and on an economy the size of Russia’s. And the “swift and severe” response that U.S. officials have promised could roil major economies, particularly those in Europe, and even threaten the stability of the global financial system, analysts say.
Some analysts also warn of a potential…