Travel Passengers dine in the restaurant car of the Red Arrow to St Petersburg

For 150 years the railway line between Moscow and St Petersburg ran as straight as an arrow for 403 miles. Straight, but for one big bend near Novgorod. The story goes that Tsar Nicholas was so fed up of officials dithering over the route that he plonked a ruler on the map and drew a straight line between the two cities, accidentally drawing around his finger in the process. Too terrified to point out his error, the builders constructed the railway with the Tsar's bump in place.

Jessica Ennis in action at the Olympic Stadium

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis to return to Olympic Stadium as it hosts the British Athletics London Grand Prix

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis will be back in the Olympic Stadium, on the anniversary of the Olympics Opening Ceremony, which is to host a Diamond League Athletics Grand Prix.

Sergei Magnitsky: The Russian lawyer, who uncovered the fraud, died in prison in 2009

Lithuanian prosecutors open investigation into multi-million dollar tax fraud by Russian organised crime group

Prosecutors in Lithuania have opened an investigation into a multi-million dollar tax fraud carried out by a Russian organised crime group which used the Baltic nation’s banks to launder some of their money.

Mo Farah is playing catch-up after taking an extended post-Olympics break: 'I am not in terrible shape but I am behind my training partner'

I'm playing catch-Rupp in training, admits Mo Farah

Mo Farah admits he is playing catch-up after taking an extended post-Olympics break. "I am not in terrible shape but I am behind my training partner – a month and bit behind him," the 5,000 metres and 10,000m gold medal winner confessed.

Aslan Usoyan survived an attempt on his life in 2010; a sniper’s bullet killed him

The death of Moscow's Don: Aslan Usoyan gunned down outside his favourite restaurant

Shooting of crime boss has stoked fears of gangland reprisals

Visas – an expensive and time-consuming necessity for a trip to Moscow

Q. On a whim I booked two cheap flights to Moscow in June for me and my 11-year-old daughter. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but since booking I have looked into obtaining visas and it seems like a minefield of red tape. Can you help? Matt Denby, West Yorkshire

Video emerges capturing moment car is hit by wheel of crashing Russian jet in accident that killed four people

Investigators are examining flight recorders and other evidence to try to determine the cause of a plane crash in Moscow that left four people dead

Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, Nataliya Magnitskaya, grieves for her son in 2009

Prosecutors drop charges in Magnitsky killing to leave family at square one

Relatives fear they will never know the truth about anti-corruption lawyer's death in police custody

Gennady Fedosov: Diplomat who promoted friendship with the West

Many people in the arts, commercial, political and sporting life of London will not have forgotten the witty, charming and erudite Gennady Fedosov, who was the Soviet Union’s minister for cultural Affairs in the Soviet Embassy in London. During a fraught period of the relationship between Britain and Russia, Fedosov was a beacon of friendship and understanding.

The NBC television crew were held by a militia group loyal to President Assad

Kidnapped journalists escape during firefight in Syria

Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for the US network NBC, told yesterday how he and his television crew were kidnapped for five days by Syrian pro-regime gunmen who subjected them to mock executions and kept them bound and blindfolded.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is said to have arranged the killing of Anna Politkovskaya at her Moscow flat

Murdered Russian journalist's son seeks 'open trial' of former policeman

The family of a murdered journalist expressed cynicism as the trial of a former police officer implicated in her killing began in Moscow.

Postcard from... Delhi

Spend two days in Delhi, India's capital and the second biggest city in the country, and your snot will be black.

Postcard from... Moscow

In recent decades, many cities have made the transition from industrial to post-industrial, with power stations and factories converted into loft accommodation or cultural centres. Moscow is unique in the number of industrial zones that remain within the city – there are 209 functioning industrial areas inside the city bounds, some of which are right in the centre.

Last count: Cubans at a Mayan ritual last week

Doomsayers await the end of the world – on 21/12/12

But governments try to reassure their citizens not to panic

Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer
who died in a Russian jail
after investigating fraud

Magnitsky affair row grows as Russia threatens to reveal banned US officials

Moscow retaliates to new US law with its own blacklist of Americans accused of rights abuses

Key players in the Magnitsky case

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine