Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s visit to Moscow has received near-constant coverage in Russia’s state media, amid speculation that he may interview President Vladimir Putin.
Social media has also been awash with images of him visiting sites around Moscow, as his every move is followed.
The conservative journalist has been an outspoken defender of Mr Putin.
Carlson was one of America’s top-rated cable TV hosts – but he abruptly left Fox News last year.
While at the US network, his shows frequently set the agenda for conservatives and, by extension, the Republican party.
The 54-year-old was hugely influential as the anchor of a late night political talk show between 2016 and 2023 and has since launched a show on X, formerly Twitter.
Breaking news Telegram channel Mash was the first to report that Carlson had arrived in the Russian capital, posting a photo of him boarding a flight from Istanbul, and another of him reportedly visiting Moscow’s famous Bolshoi Theatre to watch the ballet Spartacus.
On Tuesday, the Evening Moscow newspaper published a photo of Carlson on its front page with the headline: “Carlson, who lives in America, but speaks the truth.”
Pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia posted videos of what it said was Carlson’s vehicle entering and leaving Moscow’s presidential administration building with filming equipment on board.
Earlier, it released a clip of Carlson in his hotel speaking to a reporter.
“I’ve read so much about Russia but I’ve never seen it before. I wanted to look around and see how it’s doing – and it’s doing very well,” he can be heard saying.
Asked whether an interview with Mr Putin was among his plans, he replied: “Let’s see.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was tight-lipped when questioned by journalists about the interview.
“We have nothing to tell you at the moment. If such plans are implemented, we shall inform you,” he said on Monday.
Carlson has defended Mr Putin several times since the Russian president launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” he said as Russian troops started to mass on the Ukraine border.
“Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?” Carlson said. “These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: No. Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that.”
After Russia had invaded, he changed his tone slightly during a different show, saying “Vladimir Putin started this war… He is to blame for what we’re seeing tonight in Ukraine”.
Carlson has also called Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky a “dictator” who “is friends with everyone in Washington”.
The news host has long been a familiar face for Russians, with clips of his critical outbursts on Fox News against US foreign policy aired extensively across Russian state TV.
Kremlin-controlled television continues to dominate the Russian media, with around two-thirds of people receiving most of their news from there.
In Russia, Carlson is frequently cited as an authoritative source of news, particularly when it comes to his views on the war in Ukraine.
In September last year, Russian news channel Rossiya 24 even began airing lengthy excerpts of his “Tucker on X” show, dubbed into Russian.
While Carlson has not spoken directly to any of Russia’s TV channels, their shows are revelling in his visit and the US reaction to it.
“In the West they’re comparing this visit to actress Jane Fonda’s visit to Vietnam in 1972, following which she ended up on the list of America’s top ten traitors and the Hollywood blacklist,” presenter and pro-Putin politician Yevgeny Popov told viewers of his 60 Minutes talk show.
Popov also jibed that Carlson had managed to experience Moscow’s modern public transport system during his visit.
“Americans can’t even dream of such wonders of civilisation!” he said.
NTV, Russia’s second most popular channel, promoted a post on X by Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene saying that “Democrats and their propagandists in the media are spasming” at the prospect of Carlson interviewing Mr Putin.
“In Washington they suspect with good reason that the journalist didn’t fly to Moscow to sightsee,” NTV’s presenter commented.