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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Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

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Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities