"Of course we made mistakes on our side, scaring people when there was no need to scare them," Mr Chubais added. But he said western fears were excessive.
"Look at this story of raising gas prices to Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia. This was perceived by the west quite wrongly – dishonestly, if you like. And…Putin was stigmatised for energy blackmail, for turning energy into a weapon…These stock phrases have penetrated deeply into the consciousness of the European elite."
Mr Chubais insisted ending subsidised gas supplies to former Soviet states was about "stopping handing out money for free".
"Why the hell should we supply gas to Ukraine" for discount prices, he asked. "And meanwhile, forgive me, these scoundrels are stealing gas…
"Putin’s actions were absolutely right – actions that by any other country would be seen as normal," Mr Chubais insisted. "But from Russia they’re seen as energy blackmail, as the Kremlin’s tentacles stretching out to Paris or London, as the KGB strangling us; Russian gas is [seen as] more frightening than Soviet tanks."
"So here I have many more complaints about the west than I have about our own blunders."