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.

Grandson sues newspaper for Stalin 'libel'

Hearings began today in a libel case brought by the grandson of Joseph Stalin against a prominent Russian newspaper. Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, the Soviet dictator’s grandson, took offence at an article published by the liberal paper Novaya Gazeta that accused Stalin of personally signing death warrants for thousands of people.

Audrey Mossom: Railway Queen of Great Britain who was entertained by Stalin on a peace trip to the Soviet Union

Audrey Mossom, who has died aged 88, won considerable fame when, in 1935, as a vivacious 15-year-old schoolgirl, she was crowned Railway Queen of Great Britain. Subsequently one of the earliest celebrities to switch-on Blackpool's famous illuminations, not once, but twice, she also undertook a highly controversial peace trip to Russia, where, among others, she met Joseph Stalin.

Stalin's grandson fights for the good name of Joseph

Russian liberals sued over pamphlet saying that the dictator killed civilians

Shaun Walker: Signed in Moscow... the document which divided a continent

Few pieces of paper are as controversial as the one signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 by Joachim von Ribbentrop and Vyacheslav Molotov. The foreign ministers of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia put their signatures to a non-aggression pact, as a jovial Joseph Stalin smiled from behind them. A week later, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. In a secret addendum to the treaty, which only became public after the war, the two powers agreed to slice up central and eastern Europe into spheres of influence. The Soviets got the Baltic States and part of Poland, and had invaded the territories by the middle of 1940.

Channel 4 boss brands BBC 'Stalinist' over relocation cost

The chairman of Channel 4 has branded the BBC as a "Stalinist" organisation with an "Alice in Wonderland" business strategy, after it emerged that the corporation's move of some of its operations to a new base in Salford has been budgeted at £876m.

Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love and War, By Owen Matthews

The intrigue and danger that surround the author's mother's relationship with his father, a Welsh-born student of Russian, in this book, are almost overshadowed by the earlier story of her childhood in Stalinist Russia. Any romance inevitably comes second to the tale of the young Lyudmila and her sister, Lenina, "orphaned" when their father, a rising star in Stalin's government, was whisked off by the authorities and forced to confess to crimes he hadn't committed against the Party.

Close-up: Rory Kinnear

He was more than a match for Maggie. Now the actor is squaring up to Stalin

Mary Dejevsky: Regime change happens fast – so how stable is Medvedev?

What seems obvious with hindsight was invisible in 1917

Tick three more countries off your list, kids

Can you fit Slovenia, Hungary, and Croatia into a short holiday? Yes, says Andy McSmith

Stalin vies for top spot in 'greatest Russian' TV contest

Brutal Soviet dictator has a chance of being named later today as the country's greatest historical figure

Pandora: Hirst goes back to his roots with Paris show

After his astonishing windfall at Sotheby's last month, Damien Hirst has decided to return to his roots.

Thomas Sutcliffe: Stalin's Rocket

The Week In Culture: Stalin's towering modern vision was old before its time

Ethnic tensions: War in the Caucasus is Stalin's legacy

Arbitrary boundaries and forced repatriation are two of the causes behind the constant conflicts in the former Soviet Union. Shaun Walker reports

Russia buys the right to have a laugh at Moscow's David Brentski

Russia has become the latest country to buy the rights to produce a version of the cult British comedy The Office, in a sign that where comedy is concerned today, Slough is not so far from Siberia. The Russian version will initially feature 24 half-hour episodes, to be aired on the Kremlin-backed First Channel.

The dictator's cut: Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet'

Prokofiev originally wrote a happy ending for his ballet 'Romeo and Juliet' – and Stalin banned it. Now the long-lost score has been found, and is to be performed as the composer intended. By Alice Jones
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