Elon Musk’s invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to chat with him on a social networking app was “very interesting”, the Kremlin has said.
The Tesla boss made the overture to join him in conversation on the invite-only app Clubhouse in a tweet to the Kremlin’s official Twitter account.
“Would you like join me for a conversation on Clubhouse?,” Mr Musk wrote on Saturday.
He then followed up with a tweet in Russian, which translates as: “It would be a great honour to talk to you.”
Mr Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists during a call on Monday: “In general, this is certainly a very interesting proposal, but we need to somehow understand what is meant, what is proposed exactly, so first we will somehow check all this, and then we will react.
“We want to figure it out first. President Putin does not personally use social networks directly, he doesn’t have them.”
Mr Putin, a former KGB officer, in fact once described the Internet as a “CIA project” and he has for years been openly suspicious of modern technology.
In November 2019 a law introducing new controls on the internet came into force in Russia with some suggesting it could be used by the government to silence its critics.
The “sovereign internet” law gives officials wide-ranging powers to restrict traffic on the Russian web.
Clubhouse, a San Francisco-based app was launched last year. Newcomers have to be invited by existing users before they can join.
The app offers a selection of audio chat rooms that are divided by topic.
Users can listen in on conversations, interviews and discussions between people.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse was set up in March 2020 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth.
In May 2020 it was worth $100million (£72 million) and had 1,500 users. Elon Musk’s take-up of the app with his interview with Robinhood boss Vlad Tenev, however, brought it into the mainstream.
As of 1 February the app had two million users. It was recently valued at $1billion (£720million)
Mr Putin is not the only public figure Mr Musk has approached for a chat on the app, however.
The billionaire recently tweeted that he and rapper Kanye West will be making an appearance on the platform.
Mr Musk also has acted as an interviewer on Clubhouse, hosting a conversation with Vlad Tenev, the billionaire boss of financial services company, Robinhood.