On Sunday, we were among the first to note that Elon Musk had reached out to Vladimir Putin and asked for a "conversation" - ostensibly about bringing his companies to Russia - and hopefully not to just immediately surrender secrets related to the U.S. space program to Russia.
Whether the offer by Musk is telegraphing that his clout in China could be running out, or it's just another case of "Musk being Musk", his offer didn't appear to fall on deaf ears.
It didn't take long for Chinese media to confirm that a "conversation" could actually happen between Musk and Putin. State-affiliated outlet People's Daily reported on Monday that Putin was "interested" in Musk's offer.
Kremlin spokesman said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir #Putin was interested in tech billionaire Elon Musk's proposal that the two men chat on the audio chat app Clubhouse. pic.twitter.com/2skb6nmZA0— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 15, 2021
It raised a lot of questions from investors - namely, what would the optics if another major company CEO with ties to the U.S. Space Program reached out and made the same offer?
Elon Musk has access to U.S. military secrets and more skeletons in his closet than a medieval ossuary. Putin is the world's grand master of kompromat. What could possibly go wrong? pic.twitter.com/3QOosxqQNf— NetflixAndLamp (@NetflixAndLamp) February 16, 2021
But there was at least one investor on FinTwit that gave Musk the benefit of the doubt.
@SpaceX exists because @elonmusk swiped Russian rocketry knowhow; joke’s on Putin — Elon knows there is a trove of space/military IP and brainpower to unlock in Russia— Special Sits (@rosemontseneca) February 16, 2021
CC: @CHenry_QA @thesheetztweetz @SpaceflightInc
Recall, on Sunday, we wrote that Elon Musk tweeted the official English twitter account of the Kremlin, i.e., Vladimir Putin, saying "would you like join me for a conversation" on the popular (and so far invite-only) new audio social network Clubhouse.
.@KremlinRussia_E would you like join me for a conversation on Clubhouse?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 13, 2021
He then followed up in google-translated Russian "it would be a great honor to speak with you."
было бы большой честью поговорить с вами— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 13, 2021
We continue to wait for more context on this story as it develops.