Voices

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.

Mikhail Shatrov: Playwright whose work asserted that Stalinism was a deviation from Leninism

Mikhail Shatrov was one of the Soviet Union's pre-eminent playwrights, producing a series of historical dramas that used archival sources to portray Stalinism as a deviation from Leninism. Nevertheless, even under Stalin's successors Khrushchev and Brezhnev, several of his plays were banned.

Second Stalin statue vanishes

Authorities in Georgia tore down another monument to Josef Stalin.

Dictator's home town says goodbye Stalin as statue is torn down

Georgian authorities have removed a massive statue of Joseph Stalin from the main square of his hometown, Gori, in a secret late-night operation underlining their determination to sever ties with their Soviet past.

Artists take on the new cult of Stalin

Attempts in Russian society to rehabilitate the despotic leader have provoked rebellion. Shaun Walker reports from Moscow

Picasso: Peace and Freedom, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool

Picasso was a communist party member, but he would have been locked up for his art under Stalin

Picture of the day: Uniforms in uniform

These Russian soldiers were being put through their paces yesterday at Alabino, just outside Moscow, in preparation for the huge Victory Day parade planned for 9 May in the capital.

Katyn: painful wound that has yet to heal

Could this disaster help rebuild relations with Russia, destroyed by a 1940 massacre of Poles? Shaun Walker reports

Never mind the Bolshoi

The Helikon, an opera company that breaks all the rules, is now 20 years old. Shaun Walker in Moscow celebrates its rise

Mary Tudor, By Anna Whitelock

"One sees nothing but gibbets and hanged men." The aftermath of Sir Thomas Wyatt's Kentish rebellion of 1553 characterises the tormented reign of Mary, sandwiched between the Stalinist revolution of Henry and the economic flowering of Elizabethan England. But worse was to come for Mary.

Martin Amis: You can judge a man by his enemies...

What is it about Martin Amis that makes him the object of so much vitriol? As Anna Ford joins the attack, Andy McSmith revisits his greatest feuds to find the answer

Eye of the Red Tsar, By Sam Eastland

An agent comes in from the cold of the Siberian gulags, in this breakneck Soviet-era thriller

Killing Auntie, By Andrzej Bursa

From the admirable CB Editions comes a delightful discovery. Dead at 25 in 1957, the Polish postwar firebrand Andrzej Bursa acquired a reputation as a quick-burning, existentially tormented rebel: a literary James Dean of the Stalinist era.

Chris Harman: Editor of 'Socialist Worker' whose intellectual stature gave him an influence beyond party ranks

Chris Harman, editor of International Socialism Journal and, before that, of Socialist Worker, and a leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party for more than four decades, has died in Cairo of a heart attack. This was all the more shocking because it was so unexpected.

Vitaly Ginzburg: Nobel Prize-winning physicist who helped the Soviet Union develop the hydrogen bomb

Vitaly Ginzburg, a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning Russian physicist, who was "saved" by the hydrogen bomb, died in a Moscow hospital on 8 November aged 93. He was widely regarded as one of the fathers of the Soviet H-bomb.

Stalin's grandson loses libel action

A Russian court ruled against Josef Stalin's grandson in a libel suit over a newspaper article that said the Soviet dictator had sent thousands of people to their deaths.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform