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.

The opposition politician Alexei Navalny launched his campaign to be elected mayor of Moscow on Monday

Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny bids to be mayor of Moscow despite 'political' charges of embezzlement

The opposition politician Alexei Navalny launched his campaign to be elected mayor of Moscow on Monday, but he could end up being sent to prison before the September vote.

Mo Farah on his way to victory in the 5,000m

Flying Farah rises to the challenge as Judd enters elite ranks

Before the best of Britain's runners and jumpers got into action in Birmingham yesterday, it was fair to say they were in danger of getting stuck in Jagger mode in post-home-Olympic season.

Mo Farah turns his attention back to the track this weekend

Mo Farah has point to prove as proper business begins

Didn’t he do well? That last lap of Mo Farah’s in the 5,000 metres at the European Team Championships at Gateshead last Saturday was some sight to behold: a sizzling 50.89sec, positively Boltesque by distance-running standards.

A TV screen shows a news report about Edward Snowden in Hong Kong

Vladimir Putin confirms Edward Snowden is still in Moscow airport and blocks US extradition demands, as Venezuela says it would consider asylum request

Russian President says former CIA employee remains a free man, and the sooner he chooses destination the better

Sergei Magnitsky died in custody nine months after he was arrested

Magnitsky affair: Russia has allowed suspected killers of a whistleblowing lawyer to escape with impunity, says damning report

Council of Europe investigation into death of tax specialist who uncovered a $230m fraud against the state rubbishes Russian version of events

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

Hannah England: I've got the right times – now to focus on the chess

Keeping Track: In her first column, the middle-distance runner looks forward to competing for Britain at European Team Championships on Sunday

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied accusations that he has stolen a $25,000 (£16,000) diamond-encrusted Super Bowl ring

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies stealing £16,000 diamond-encrusted Super Bowl ring

Ring was one of many given to the New England Patriots team after they won Super Bowl in February 2005

Sergei Polonsky (centre) is led away by Cambodian officials earlier this year

Sergei Polonsky 'wanted by Moscow in connection with £120m fraud case'

The controversial property tycoon Sergei Polonsky, key witness in an ongoing trial against fellow Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev, is now wanted by Russian authorities over a massive alleged fraud. Mr Polonsky, who earlier this year skipped bail in Cambodia, where he was awaiting trial for assaulting local sailors, is now also on Russia’s wanted list.

Ejected Polymetal in Moscow listing

Polymetal International, the Russian gold producer that is set to be ejected from the elite FTSE 100 this month, will start trading shares in Moscow tomorrow as it shores up its investor base.

'Who you sleep with is a personal choice': Oligarch Mikhai Prokhorov criticises Russia's 'gay propaganda' law

Mikhai Prokhorov, the oligarch and politician often referred to as “Russia’s most eligible bachelor”, has criticised the controversial “gay propaganda” law passed overwhelmingly by Russia’s parliament earlier this week.

Andrew Selby (right) on his way to his second European gold, overcoming Ireland's Michael Conland in the final

Steve Bunce on Boxing: Cultures clash as full-time amateurs finally make their mark on Europe

Even John Conteh, Alan Minter and Charlie Magri took beatings

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Injury forces Jessica Ennis-Hill out of Diamond League meeting in Oslo

The Olympic gold winner is thinking long term

McQuaid effectively accuses Cookson of being a stooge of the oligarch

Cycling: Pat McQuaid fights back in war of words

UCI president seeking re-election posts damning letter accusing rival of consorting with 'election fixer'

Police rule out foul play over Russian supergrass found dying outside his Surrey mansion

But cause of death not pinpointed despite two post mortem examinations

Garry Kasparov fears being targeted in his native land

Chess grandmaster-turned-opposition politician, Gary Kasparov, ponders next move – but Russia’s out

Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster-turned-Russian opposition politician, has said that he will not return to Russia in the foreseeable future as he fears arrest.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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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
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

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
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

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

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
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

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us