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.

Kremlin ally Sergei Sobyanin won a Moscow mayoral election two exit polls showed

Moscow mayoral election: Polls show victory for Putin ally Sergei Sobyanin but close result for Alexei Navalny could energise opposition

Kremlin ally Sergei Sobyanin won a Moscow mayoral election on Sunday, two exit polls showed, but opposition leader Alexei Navalny did much better than expected and challenged the count.

Jim Armitage: Belarus has bitten off more than it can chew by reeling in this big fish

Global Outlook In most countries, you get arrested for operating a cartel. In Belarus, it seems, the opposite is the case. On Monday, the chief executive of Russia's fertiliser giant Uralkali, travelling to Minsk at the invitation of the prime minister, arrived only to find himself getting arrested at the airport. His detention came just weeks after he had pulled his company out of the potassium cartel it has operated with Belarus. A cartel that has artificially kept up prices of crop-boosting fertilisers for farmers the world over.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt delighted with latest win in Diamond League

Jamaican powered through after slow start

Edward Snowden (AFP/Getty)

Edward Snowden 'contacted' Russians two days before arrival in Moscow

Russian newspaper reports Snowden discussed his flight plans with consulate in Hong Kong prior to departure, despite Putin claims his arrival was 'complete surprise'

BBC Sports presenter Gabby Logan

Russia’s anti-gay laws unsettled me, says Gabby Logan

Gabby Logan has spoken of her personal discomfort at presenting this month’s World Athletics Championships in Russia amid the furore over the country’s homophobic laws.

Mo Farah celebrates his 5,000m triumph in Moscow on Friday night, his second gold of the World Championships

Mo Farah: From tough of the track to marathon man

After his latest golden double, the distance runner relishes the idea of tackling 26.2 miles in London

Greg Rutherford in action in Moscow

World Championships: Chris Tomlinson fury after Greg Rutherford falls short in Moscow

Shunned long-jump rival erupts on Twitter as Olympic champion fails to reach final

The Sport Matrix: Wednesday 14 August 2013

Murray revelling in winning feeling

Christine Ohuruogu powers away from Natasha Hastings in the 400m semi-final

World Championships: Perri Shakes-Drayton sprints away from Olympic woes

It is two decades since Sally Gunnell glided over 10 hurdles in Stuttgart to be crowned world champion with a then world record.

The sporting week ahead (11/08/13)

Today

Hannah on her way to finishing fourth in Rome earlier this month

Hannah England: My goal is to make the Moscow final – and absolutely no excuses

Keeping track: I'm in far better shape than before London 2012

Paula Radcliffe speaks out on doping in Moscow

Paula Radcliffe: Life bans needed for dope cheats

There has been no more strident anti-drug campaigner in sport than Paula Radcliffe. At the track-and-field World Championships in Edmonton back in 2001 the future marathon world-record holder held up a home-made banner proclaiming "EPO Cheats Out", protesting at the presence in the 5,000 metres final of the Russian Olga Yegorova, who had tested positive for the blood-boosting hormone erythropoietin but escaped a ban on a technicality.

Jessica Ennis-Hill has been plagued by an Achilles injury

Jessica Ennis-Hill out for 15 weeks to save career

Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill is expected to be out of action for around 15 weeks, after her coach, Toni Minichiello, revealed that her career would have been at risk had she not pulled out of the upcoming World Championships.

Jessica Ennis-Hill has lost her fitness battle

Jessica Ennis-Hill ruled out for four months with injury

The Olympic champion is missing the World Championships in Moscow

Putin’s libertarian benevolence in this case has turned a chilly relationship with US ice-cold

Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden may have ended nearly six weeks in airport limbo for the man who leaked some of America’s most sensitive intelligence gathering programmes. But it has further poisoned the already severely strained relations between Moscow and Washington.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015