Amid endless talks about the ramifications of sanctions imposed against Russia, Western commentators and policy pundits are missing a critical point. Economic coercion imposed against Moscow, their argument runs, will enfeeble the Russian government and force it to yield to Western demands. Part of the logic is that Russia's extractive economy is Vladimir Putin's Achilles' feet, and economic challenges will likely undermine his legitimacy and popularity in the long run. A corollary of this way of thinking is that sooner or later Russians will realize that something's gone awry in Putin's grandiose strategy. In point of fact, these analyses stem from a deep misunderstanding of Russia. And, as a consequence, the Western world is playing with fire.