ALEX Salmond’s decision to host a chat show on TV station RT, the Kremlin-backed broadcaster formerly known as Russia Today, sparked mixed reaction from his old party colleagues.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the show would likely be “interesting” but said, had she been asked, she would have advised her old boss against working for a channel often accused of being a mouthpiece for Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to reporters, the SNP leader said her predecessor’s new employer wouldn’t get in the way of her or her party speaking out on Russia.

“I am sure Alex’s show will make interesting viewing – however, his choice of channel would not have been my choice.

“Of course, Alex is not currently an elected politician and is free to do as he wishes – but had I been asked, I would have advised against RT and suggested he seek a different channel to air what I am sure will be an entertaining show.

“Neither myself nor the SNP will shy away from criticising Russian policy when we believe it is merited.”

RT have their headquarters in Moscow and are funded by the Putin regime, though the London based UK operation insists they have editorial freedom.

Just yesterday, following a lengthy battle with the Department of Justice, the news organisation’s US editor confirmed it would be registering with American authorities as an agent of the Russian government.

Earlier this year US intelligence agencies said the station was little more than propoganda: “The Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT’s coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging because of their ideological beliefs.’’

When news broke of the deal between Salmond and RT on Thursday night, the SNP MEP Alyn Smith asked “What the fuck is he thinking?”.

Responding to criticism of the move by BBC Broadcaster Andrew Neil, the SNP MP Douglas Chapman came to Salmond’s support, comparing RT to Britain’s state broadcaster.

“Probably got fed up waiting for an offer from the UK propaganda know, the one you work for,” he tweeted.

Salmond himself defended the show in an interview with BBC Newsnight, telling Kirsty Wark that it would be his production company and not Vladimir Putin who would have editorial control.

"I appeared on RT programmes when I was still a Member of Parliament, it would be a bit strange if I said 'now I'm no longer a Member of Parliament I'm refusing to make my own show with my own production company over which I have total editorial control.'

"If it turns out to be Kremlin propaganda, then people can slate me."

An SNP spokesman said: “This is entirely a matter for Alex Salmond , who is not currently an elected politician and as such is free to ‎take on broadcasting and other opportunities of his own choosing, just as those from other parties have done.

“The SNP has no connection to Alex’s company or his media interests.

“The SNP has regularly expressed concern over actions by the Russian government, including reports of persecution on the grounds of race and sexuality, attacks on journalists and concerns about the integrity of the democratic process, and we will continue to pursue these concerns.”

The show will be produced by Slainte Media, run by Salmond and former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who will also act as a "roving reporter".