ALEX Salmond is under fire after signing a TV deal with a Kremlin propaganda channel.

The former First Minister is to appear in an eponymous show on RT (Russia Today).

The decision is likely to raise questions about Mr Salmond’s attempt to take control of Johnston Press, publishers of the Scotsman newspaper.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith told the Herald: "What the f*** is he thinking?"

In 2014, Mr Salmond infamously praised Russian president Vladimir Putin, telling GQ magazine he admired “certain aspects” of his character.

He said: “He's restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing.”

Mr Salmond, who lost his Gordon seat in June in the biggest swing to the Tories in the UK, had a sell-out chat show during the Edinburgh fringe.

The new weekly “Alex Salmond Show” on the Russian government funded channel will feature “a mix of current affairs, discussion” and profiles of public figures.

Mr Salmond said: "I am delighted to be bringing the Alex Salmond Show to an international platform.

"After 30 years in elected politics and at the sharp end of interviews, I’m really looking forward to turning the tables and having the opportunity to see things from a new perspective!

"Of course, the show will have a sharp focus on politics, but I am not interested in catching people out but in finding out much more about the personalities which lie behind their public positions. "My view is that the viewer will gain far more information and entertainment from a relaxed informal style which allows them to express their point of view.

“You can count on many of my friends I’ve made during my time at the forefront of politics and public life over the last 30 years appearing –but also quite a few of my foes!”

Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of RT, said: "For the last 30 years Alex Salmond has been seen in halls of power the world over. We are proud to bring his knowledge, wit, and political nous to a new home here on RT.”

The show will be made by Slainte Media, a company set up by Mr Salmond and former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, who also produced his stage show.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh will be a roving co-presenter on their TV effort.

According to a recent study, SNP politicians have made more than 50 appearances on Kremlin propaganda channels RT and Sputnik, despite concern from other parties.

Mr Salmond accounted for more than a third of the SNP’s exposure on the outlets.

During the press conference to launch the show, Mr Salmond was asked: "Is there anyone you wouldn't work for?"

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie said: “I didn’t fully understand the depth of the admiration that Alex Salmond has for Vladimir Putin until now.

“I know Alex Salmond is desperate to stay in the limelight and cannot retire with dignity, but surely this is beneath even him. He needs to think again.”

A Scottish Tory source said: “Alex Salmond's record in recent days has been to attack Scottish media outlets, while cosying up to Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine.

"He is free to do as he pleases but this is a deeply regrettable decision by Scotland’s former first minister."

Iain Dale, the political commentator and host on LBC radio, where Mr Salmond also has a show, criticised his colleague's decision.

He tweeted: "I try my best not to slag off @LBC colleagues but I’m going to make an exception. I accepted an invite to the launch of AlexSalmond’s new TV show. Just found out it’s for RT. Be ashamed, Alex. Be very ashamed. #roubletastic #sellout"