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Vladimir Putin played the role of the good tsar at his annual press conference, fielding questions, repeated declarations of grateful praise and requests to deal with unscrupulous businessmen and lazy bureaucrats. One excited journalist even credited him with an improvement in her love life, noting that she had “finally gotten married” shortly after meeting him in March.

The designer rebel who slept in our spare room: Julie Burchill brought white bread, old-fashioned values and angst when she moved in with her in-laws. Jay Landesman remembers

Jay Landesman, 73, came from St Louis, Missouri. He ran a night-club there which made its name with early performances by Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand. For 30 years he has lived in north London with his wife, the poet Fran Landesman, establishing a place on the London literary and cultural scene as author, publisher and raconteur. Along the way he also acquired a lethal daughter-in-law . . .

Captain Moonlight's Notebook: Stalin was a jolly man, but a bit sarcastic

SVETLANA Alliluyeva, 67, only daughter of the dictator, Joseph Stalin, and now living on charity at a home for elderly women in north London, refused to see her Russian cousins who were visiting the capital last week. She sent them a brief note saying merely that she was 'indisposed'. Her first cousin, Kyra Politskaya, 73, and Olga Alliluyeva, 38, her first cousin-once- removed, said Svetlana's response was not unexpected. The two women were discreet about their feelings, but I believe they were disappointed that on their first visit to London, Svetlana had chased them away.

Communists bungle Gorbachev's show trial

IT HAS come to this: Russia's cranky Communists cannot even organise a decent show trial any more.

BOOK REVIEW / Peeled eggs and a mania for the telephone: 'Fear' - Anatoli Rybakov Tr. Antonina W Bouis: Hutchinson, 15.99 pounds

ANATOLI RYBAKOV'S epic saga unfolds in the recriminatory atmosphere of Stalin's purges, where the lives of millions of Soviet citizens were 'broken like eggs' for the dictator's cannibal feast. In Fear, the sequel to his earlier novel, Children of the Arbat (written in 1966 but not published until 1987), Rybakov takes up the story of Sasha Pankratov, a young engineering student, who has been exiled to Siberia on trumped up charges of counter-revolutionary activity.

Letter: Churchill's efforts to end the Cold War

Sir: The orthodox and correct reply to the revisionist theory that Winston Churchill should have made peace with Hitler in 1941 is that any terms then obtainable would have left Britain and her humbly preserved Empire at the mercy of an all-powerful conqueror whose readiness to tear up pieces of paper at a moment's notice was a matter of record and prediction. To seek peace in 1941 would have been to offer total

Obituary: Charles Tillon

Charles Joseph Tillon, politician, born Rennes 3 July 1897, Minister of Aviation 1945-46, Minister of Armaments 1946-47, Minister of Reconstruction 1947, died Marseilles 13 January 1993.

Former education chief criticises 'cavalier policy'

THE FORMER chief inspector of schools yesterday attacked the Government's education policy as 'cavalier in the extreme', and warned against increased political control over the curriculum.

Cunhal bows out

LISBON (AFP) - The Portuguese Communist Party's leader, Alvaro Cunhal, is to step down after 30 years as secretary-general of Europe's last Stalinist party at its 14th Congress today. Mr Cunhal, 79, said he had grown too old, but is expected to be elected president of the party's national council - a body due to be set up by the congress.

RECORDS / DOUBLE PLAY: Supporting the reds and the blues: Edward Seckerson and Stephen Johnson compare notes on recordings of Prokofiev and Gershwin

PROKOFIEV: Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution. The Stone Flower - excerpts

BETWEEN THE LINES / Actor Jack Klaff remembers a Russian reaction to Bulgakov

'Our government has created a society in which it is not possible for someone to live for other people.'

Jaruzelski in 'shoot to kill' trial

WARSAW (AP) - General Wojciech Jaruzelski testified yesterday at an inquiry into whether his interior minister ordered striking miners shot, as Poland pursues leaders of the old Communist regime.

Mongolia mass graves found

ULAN BATOR (Reuter) - Mongolian historians have discovered and excavated a second mass grave of Buddhist monks executed during a Stalinist reign of terror that took place in the late 1930s.

Obituary: Auguste Lecoeur

Auguste Lecoeur, politician, author and historian, born Lille France 4 September 1911, died Crissey France 26 July 1992.

The party is not yet over: Yesterday, hearings resumed in Moscow on the legality of Boris Yeltsin's ban against the Communist Party. One of the key witnesses will be Roy Medvedev. Here he explains why the President is in the wrong

In the opening days of the hearings, there were a lot of tendentious speeches, with both sides missing the point. The Constitutional Court called upon the Communist Party lawyers and Boris Yeltsin's representatives to present their case from a juridical standpoint, not a political one, but neither side has so far complied.

The writing all over Stalin's walls: Archives now reveal exactly how the dictator used buildings as propaganda, overwhelming citizens with power-architecture, writes Jonathan Glancey

SOVIET archives are suddenly in the news, most prominently because David Irving, the right-wing apologist for Hitler, has been transcribing for the Sunday Times diaries by Goebbels that have been stored in Moscow.
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Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
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One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
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Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker