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.

Letter: Albania reverts to old habits

Sir: Andrew Gumbel ("God save us. God save Albania", 14 March) is right to point out how the polarisation of opinion between "left" and "right" among British commentators is confusing policy towards the current emergency in Albania. Unfortunately, political position-taking is also making it all the harder to interpret current developments.

Obituary: Andrei Sinyavsky

After Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sinyavsky was the most famous Soviet dissident. His 1966 trial in Moscow for - with Yuli Daniel - publishing abroad "anti-Soviet" satirical stories became sensational. He was sentenced to seven years' hard labour; the occasion marked the beginning of the modern dissident movement in the Soviet Union.

Stalinism abroad in garden of England

In the general election of 1992, 480,000 voters in the county of Kent returned 16 Conservative MPs, at an average of 30,070 votes per seat. The 402,000 voters who put their cross against either Labour or the Liberal Democrats returned exactly no MPs, at a mathematically interesting average.

Albania blames riots on Stalinist plotters

After the public anger, now comes the official paranoia and the menace of repressive violence. Two days after almost losing control of the country to street demonstrators who were furious about the loss of their life savings, the Albanian government yesterday sought to depict itself as a crusader for democracy under ambush from gangs of left-wing terrorists.

no more like you at home

Birth order, we learn, can dictate personality. But what if you're an only child? Are you destined to be spoilt and difficult, or uniquely gifted? Emma Cook reports

Dictator Stalin was softie and cry-baby

Moscow (AP) - After 60 years as a Kremlin maid, Polina Malinkina has issued her verdict on its best-known inhabitants.

Obituary: Pavel Sudaplatov

Pavel Sudoplatov was the most sinister man in the Communist system. He was also the most secret, both in the former Soviet Union and during Perestroika, until three years ago, when his name appeared for the first time in the Russian press.

Yeltsin cures Kremlin's secrecy sickness

Predicting illness and death in the Kremlin's halls of power has long been an art. Tony Barber reports

When Joseph Stalin met Winston Churchill

Here was Churchill, staunch anti-Bolshevist - the man who in 1919 had spearheaded Allied military intervention against the Red Army - flying off to Moscow to confer with that commissar of commissars Joseph Stalin. The irony was not lost on either man. But by August 1924, Russia had been under heavy German attack for 14 months, and the prime minister thought it politic to inform the Soviet marshal personally that his allies were not ready for a second front in Europe that year. Stalin would not be pleased.

OBITUARY : Gyula Kllai

Gyula Kllai, the Hungarian Communist politician, was one of the most senior officials to help Jnos Kdr, the party leader, restore and consolidate Communist rule in Hungary after the 1956 uprising.

Obituary: General Dmitri Volkogonov

Dmitri Antonovich Volkogonov, soldier and military historian: born Chita, Eastern Siberia 22 March 1928; married (two daughters); died Moscow 6 December 1995.

Bust plan is tasteless, says Churchill family

Sir Winston Churchill's daughter, Lady Soames, yesterday moved to dissociate herself from a proposal to erect a giant 40ft bronze head of her father on London's South Bank.

The summer before the storm

A feelgood movie about something bad? Sheila Johnston on heroism, hubris and Chekovian tristesse in Stalinist Russia; BURNT BY THE SUN Nikita Mikhalkov (15)

Poet used as secret weapon

Government documents to be released today will reveal that a mixed bag of public figures had key roles in an under- cover war anti-Soviet propaganda campaign.

Cathedral rises on site of Stalin's Palace site

Steve Crawshaw in Moscow sees Russian history turn full circle with the rebuilding of Christ the Saviour, destroyed in 1931
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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
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Smash hit go under the hammer

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Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

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A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
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Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
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These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
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A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

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Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

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Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
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