There’s no such thing as bad publicity, goes the old adage.
And perhaps that’s some comfort for Alex Salmond as he finds himself at the centre of another outcry – this time over his comments about Russian election interference and the Salisbury poisonings.
Just days after our polling put support for his new Alba Party at just 3%, the former first minister is once again riding high in the headlines following a radio interview in which he refused to condemn the actions of the Kremlin on a number of fronts.
In an interview with BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme he claimed evidence that the Russians had interfered in American elections was “very slight”, putting him at odds with all of the US intelligence services and all but the most loyal Donald Trump lackeys.
Pressed on whether Russia had intervened in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, he said the findings of Westminster’s intelligence and security committee were “laughable”, suggesting President Putin had acted with more propriety than President Obama by refusing to weigh in publicly at the time.
He also insisted evidence that the Putin regime had been behind the nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in 2018 was “contested” and urged people to “see it for what it is”.
This, of course, is the same Alex Salmond, whose self-titled television chat show airs on the Kremlin-backed RT station and whose decision to align himself with the broadcaster has come in for intense scrutiny before now.
There are plenty of Salmond supporters who seem prepared to accept the former SNP leader with a clean slate; who are willing to see past his recent controversies and put their faith in the political nous which took the Scottish independence movement closer than it has ever come to achieving his life’s ambition.
Perhaps they will also be content to bat off his softly softly approach to a regime whose human rights abuses, hacking misadventures, foreign election interference – amid a host of other issues – put it at odds with most western democracies.
But plenty others will question his timidity in this case and the appropriateness of his relationships with RT and the Russian state.
His new guise finds him increasingly at odds with the political establishment in this country and he has shown no qualms in squaring up to his domestic rivals.
In the same interview on Wednesday morning, he took a swipe at his successor, saying she had shown insufficient urgency in her pursuit of independence over the last five years.
By downplaying the threat from Moscow, he left an open goal for political opponents here, who were quick to accuse him of being an apologist for the Putin regime, a spinner of Russian propaganda and in the pocket of his Kremlin paymasters.
Mr Salmond has been at pains to point out he is not employed directly by RT, insisting he does not take editorial direction from the Russian state broadcaster.
Perhaps not, but his association with it – and his refusal to distance himself from its government’s worst excesses – lends Putin’s practices a legitimacy which most right-minded Scots will find abhorrent.
You can tell a lot about a man from the company he keeps and his judgement in this matter does not reflect well on him.