Voices Pope Francis: 'I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it'

Is he doomed to play the role of Mikhail Gorbachev to an organisation long as secretive as the Kremlin?

The eye of the storm: Speakes in the White House in 1982

Larry Speakes: Press secretary to Ronald Reagan who later admitted he had put words into the president’s mouth

An assassination attempt plunged Larry Speakes into the brightest of national spotlights as chief spokesman for President Ronald Reagan. When Reagan’s press secretary James Brady was severely wounded in the 1981 attempt on the president’s life, Speakes was thrust into the eye of the storm. As White House spokesman for six years, a long tenure in the sensitive post, he was credited with 2,000 news media briefings.

So how many Nobel prizes does it take to fill a Mazda?

The Japanese car group is on a sales drive that has zoomed out of left field, says Laura Chesters
the classified document outlines a highly-sensitive inquiry into the claims that the elderly Nazi was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets

Adolf Hitler's Nazi deputy Rudolf Hess ‘murdered by British agents’ to stop him spilling wartime secrets

Surgeon claims Hess was killed on British orders to preserve wartime secrets

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn was the last Communist Foreign Minister of Hungary, who started opening the Iron Curtain. On 27 June 1989 he joined Alois Mock, the Austrian Foreign Minister, to pull down a section of the barbed wire dividing their countries. During the following months thousands of East Germans used the route to emigrate to Austria and West Germany. It was the beginning of the end for East German Communism. In Hungary Horn is better known for a massive austerity programme when he was Prime Minister in 1995. The package sparked massive opposition.

Postcard from... Berlin

Alexander Lebedev appears in court over punching property tycoon Sergei Polonsky on Russian television show

Alexander Lebedev, the Russian businessman whose family owns The Independent, appeared in a Moscow courtroom today to hear charges read against him that could land him in prison for up to five years.

Kravchuk, Shushkevich and Yeltsin sign the agreement

Reds not dead? Document that dissolved the Soviet Union goes missing

The historic document that heralded the collapse of the Soviet Union has gone missing from an archive in Belarus, according to one of its signatories.

Former Soviet KGB Leonid Shebarshin found dead in apparent suicide

Commemorative gun and diary revealing health problems found near body

The latest polls suggest Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, will win Sunday’s presidential poll

Mary Dejevsky: Russia is changing and Putin must, too

The first complete book that any British student of Russian is likely to read in the original is Fathers and Sons, a novel by Ivan Turgenev. There are all sorts of reasons why that might be.

When the empire crumbled: 20 years after the Soviet coup

When the Soviet Union collapsed 20 years ago, Mary Dejevsky was struck by the bravery and optimism she saw on the streets of Moscow. Now she asks, why has Russia failed to live up to the West's expectations?

Leading article: Presidents past

US Independence Day was marked in London with the unveiling of a 10ft bronze statue of the late US President, Ronald Reagan, outside the US embassy. To which there is only one rational response: why? At least it was not funded by the British taxpayer. On the other hand, if the project had depended on British money, there might well have been no statue at all. The only home-grown contribution was Westminster Council's decision to waive a rule that requires someone to have been dead for 10 years before qualifying for a public statue. Which prompts thoughts about who might justifiably qualify for such a dispensation. How about Mikhail Gorbachev – the man who really ended the Cold War?

Elena Bonner: Soviet dissident and human rights activist who campaigned alongside her husband, Andrei Sakharov

Born in Merv, Central Asia, in 1923, a wartime nurse and physician by profession, Elena Bonner was known internationally as a human rights activist in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and the wife of Andrei Sakharov, the most prestigious and influential of dissidents.

Gordon McLennan: Political activist who led the Communist Party of Great Britain but was unable to prevent its demise

Gordon McLennan was the last of the old style working-class Communist general secretaries to lead the British party, at a time which would see it split as hardline traditionalists fought progressive euro-communists over which direction it should take.

Our lessons in power

What can we learn from some of the 20th century's most noted leaders? And what message do Clinton, Gorbachev et al have for future heads of state? Brian Michael Till gets the word from the top

Cannes Diary: How Jodie got her man

Jodie Foster said yesterday it was "natural" for her to ask Mel Gibson to star in The Beaver. She said: "I've been friends with Mel for over 15 years and we've had many, many long discussions about life and so it was a natural place to go."

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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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone