HE helped put Donald Trump in the White House. He may - many fear - have pushed a Brexit vote which left Britain at odds with its closest allies. But has Vladimir Putin’s effort to destabilise the West hit a Scottish brick wall?

The Kremlin has invested substantially in ensuring its voice gets heard north of the border. It has based one propaganda outlet, Sputnik, in Edinburgh. It has hired former First Minister Alex Salmond to host a show on another, RT.

It does not, however, seem to be getting value for its roubles. So far. That is because some of Russian state media’s core messages are failing to resonate.

Take the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this year.

Russia denies sending goons to poison the pair. Its propaganda outlets, armies of social media bots and Western proxies for months have been selling a diet of conspiracy theories that suggest almost anybody bar Russian military intelligence could have skooshed some Novichok on a Salisbury door handle.

Even in March it seemed that viewers were not buying this line. UK-wide polls suggested one per cent thought Russia could not have been behind the crime. A few more per cent of Britons were prepared to be entertained by alternative theories.

Among those expressing scepticism were harder line Scottish nationalists. After all this group - let ‘s call them alt-nats - had been courted by the Kremlin. Trump-style dislike of traditional journalism, especially of the BBC, made them particularly vulnerable to one of the core Putinist talking points, that “everything is propaganda”.

RT probably thought its 2017 decision to sign Mr Salmond would deliver it a ready army of cheerleaders. At first it looked like it might succeed. Over this winter key social media influencers - such as the blogger Wings Over Scotland - amplified messages about the RT being “the Russian equivalent of the BBC”.

After Salisbury some of these voices cast doubt on the British version of events - even when SNP leaders, who bar Salmond, were always cynical about RT - announced they would stand by the UK position.

This week that changed. Wings over Scotland, for example, merely joked about Russian names on Twitter.

SNP officials who watch the counter-productive Yes fringe closely breathed a sigh of relief. In London, parts of the Labour left also stepped back from echoing RT and Sputnik on the Skripals.

Propaganda expert Ben Nimmo - of the Atlantic Council - spotted an attempt to push hoax hashtag. It did not take off. “Evidence counts,” he tweeted.

Mr Putin may have lost a propaganda battle over the Skripals. But the information cold war continues. And Scotland remains on its front line.