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.

Books: A long trek back to Stalin

Archangel by Robert Harris Hutchinson, pounds 16.99, 421pp

Historical Notes: Victory for the Soviet people, not for Stalin

FOR YEARS after the end of the Second World War Victory Day was honoured every 9 May in the Soviet Union. The Soviet victory was slowly transformed into one of the two chief founding myths of the Communist regime, Lenin's historic triumph in 1917, Stalin's in 1945. Even when Stalin was dead and then denounced the myth survived. The victory of 1945 became the victory of the progressive Communist peoples over fascism and imperialism. Schoolchildren were for years taught that "the Soviet nation saved man-kind from annihilation and enslavement". Thanks to Soviet efforts, ran the textbook, the USSR "preserved world civilisation".

Stalin's heirs have Kremlin at their mercy

THE MAN leading the assault on Boris Yeltsin in parliament is Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of Russia's rapidly reviving Communist Party.

Stalin's little prisoner

What was a British schoolgirl doing in Soviet Moscow, and why was she sent to a labour camp?

Travel: Cycle the Red route

History and pedal power combine to good effect in the Rebels and Radicals of the East End cycle tour. Simon Calder takes to the tandem

Photography: 98for98 The century in photographs: today 1929

The miners of Tilmanstone colliery in Kent, pictured here, could count themselves lucky to be on their feet for a few minutes - thin, inaccessible seams demanded that men often spend hours working on their knees. They were probably grateful for employment of any sort. In August it was revealed that the number of unemployed in the UK had risen to 2 million - nearly a two-fold increase since the Labour government's election the previous year. With the help of the Hulton Getty Picture Collection, this image of subterranean toil brings The Independent's photo-history of the 20th century to 1930.

Classical Review: Siege mentality

Philharmonia RFH, SBC, London

Choice: Film - The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden, Pictureville Bradford (01274 732277) 2pm

Books: Art for the people's sake

THE HERMITAGE: The Biography of a Great Museum by Geraldine Norman, Cape pounds 20

Russian Revolution: Lenin's bewildered heirs contemplate a lost kingdom

The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, 80 years old this week, produced the world's largest political machine, a sinister apparatus whose tentacles stretched into almost every crevice of the Soviet Empire and beyond. But what does it mean to belong to the Communist Party in today's Russia? Phil Reeves reports from Moscow.

Russian Revolution: The Party's over, but the memories still live on

This week marks the 80th anniversary of Russia's October Revolution, an event which heralded some of history's sorriest episodes. Yet Russians are increasingly ambivalent about their past.

Och aye, Dmitri: Russian 'Scots' find their roots

Scots, like Cornishmen and weak beer, have a reputation for penetrating parts that the rest of the planet doesn't reach, but even they are about to break new ground. Today sees the first Highland Games ever to be held on Russian soil. Stranger still, locals - who are part-Celt - will be taking part.

Flying with Tony, slaving with Joe

Reflecting on the pleasures of victory amidst the perquisites of success: Robert Harris traces his path from Hitler to Bletchley to Blair to Stalin. By Rob Brown

Letter: Where is the freedom we voted for?

Sir: Freedom of information and open government fall within the remit of Peter Mandelson. If New Labour does not go ahead with it, we will lose what faith and hope we have in them, which it is his job to maintain. Mr Mandelson has no portfolio of his own, just a remit to poke holes in other ministers'. It would dignify him and the Government if his efforts were directed towards a greater good than Labour spin-doctrine: the honest and open presentation of government in power.

Art of the State

EXHIBITIONS For 50 years, Russian painters suffered Stalin's straitjack et. A new show hints at creative defiance
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