The former Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, has faced criticisms over his new chat show, which is to be broadcast by RT, the Russian television network which is backed by the Kremlin.

Airing every Thursday, the show promises to provide a mixture of current affairs along with entertainment and sport.

But the decision to have the show air on RT has raised eyebrows.

The Kremlin-backed television station has faced criticism in recent years owing to its controversial viewpoints.

When Vladimir Putin sent troops into Crimea in 2014, RT suggested that there was no occupation and that pro-Russian locals had instead dressed up in Russian army uniforms.

RT was also censured by Ofcom after it claimed that the BBC had staged a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

And on 9 November, RT confirmed that they would be registering with authorities in the US as an "agent of the Russian state".

"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," Salmond said.

Speaking on Thursday night's edition of Newsnight, Salmond said that if RT were unhappy with any of the content of his show, including any possible criticisms of Russia, they have the right to not air the show.

Salmond, who lost his seat at the 2017 general election, defended his decision to partner with the channel, claiming that "over the past year or two" 50 Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, 37 Conservative MPs and 17 SNP MPs, have appeared on RT programmes.

"If it turns out to be Kremlin propaganda, then people can slate me, but why don't they watch the show first and then decide," Salmond said.

Reacting to the show, an SNP spokesperson said that they had "regularly expressed concern over actions by the Russian government", but also that the show was "entirely a matter for Alex Salmond".

Nicola Sturgeon, Salmond's SNP successor as first minister, said: "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."

But political opponents pounced on the chat show, including Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who tweeted: "It's not often I feel sorry for Nicola Sturgeon, but Salmond taking the Kremlin's rouble on Russia Today? Ooft...."

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said that Salmond fancied "himself as the Michael Parkinson of Vladimir Putin's propaganda channel".

Alex Salmond