Russia feeling the sting as sanctions start

One of those facing sanctions, Vladimir I. Yakunin, a close adviser and the head of Russian Railways, said in an interview before President Obama’s announcement of expanded penalties on Thursday that Mr. Putin was “a very difficult person” when he felt under pressure to bend to the demands of others and would not yield to international condemnation. …

Behind the bravado, however, lurked a distinct unease about the possible long-term effects on an already troubled economy.

Like Standard & Poor’s, a second rating agency, Fitch, warned that it would downgrade Russia’s credit rating. In the first reaction that directly affected ordinary consumers, Visa and MasterCard ceased operations with Bank Rossiya, which was targeted by the new sanctions because, the United States said, it served as a “personal bank for senior officials of the Russian Federation.”

Russia’s finance minister, Anton G. Siluanov, told reporters, “Imposition of the sanctions is definitely a negative for the general perception of our country’s economy,” according to the Interfax news agency. He cited more costly borrowing and the continuing pressure on the stock markets, one of which has fallen 21 percent this year.