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.

Blaze at psychiatric hospital near Moscow leaves 38 dead

A fire at a psychiatric hospital outside Moscow killed 38 people early this morning, many of them patients who burned to death while under heavy sedation.

Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny: Fraud case is ‘political revenge’

The opposition leader Alexei Navalny gave a grand-standing speech in his opening remarks to the provincial court trying him on embezzlement charges. Mr Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who led street protests against President Vladimir Putin, dismissed the case as “political revenge”.

Boston Marathon bombing: Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have met Dagestan rebels

As US investigators attempt to piece together the motivations and allegiances that led Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to bomb the Boston Marathon, attention is turning to the six-month stint that Tamerlan spent in southern Russia in early 2012. He stayed with his father in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, the mountainous republic in southern Russia that borders the family’s ancestral homeland, Chechnya.

Ennis: 'I will never forget the noise'

Jessica Ennis leads golden return to Olympic Stadium for Anniversary Games

Gold medal winners from 'Super Saturday' will all be in action

Postcard from... Moscow

Sergei Magnitsky: The lawyer died in custody after helping to expose a large tax scam

US risks angering Russia by publishing blacklist

Diplomatic friction as Washington names Russian officials banned over Magnitsky affair

Chelsea player Ryan Bertrand
Ashley Cole

Rafael Benitez 'feeling good' over injuries to Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole

Pair expected to miss Europa League tie on Thursday

Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler cancels Russian gigs over country's 'human rights crackdown'

Mark Knopfler has cancelled two shows in Russia in protest over what he says is a crackdown on human rights groups in the country.

A graffiti with a sign reading

'Russian Banksy' Pasha P183 dies aged 29

A prominent Russian graffiti artist who hid his identity behind the tag Pasha P183 and has been compared to Britain's Banksy has died aged just 29.

Pietro Mennea pictured in 1978

Former 200-metre world record holder Pietro Mennea dies

The Italian held the record for 17 years

Rafael Benitez takes a Chelsea training session

Rubin Kazan switch Europa League tie against Chelsea to Moscow

The move will make the tie closer to London

Russia drops inquiry into death of Sergei Magnitsky

Investigators have dropped an inquiry  into the death in jail of Sergei Magnitsky, stating that the whistleblowing lawyer’s agonising death, which became an international scandal, was not the result of malpractice.

Wealthy Russian expats in Cyprus face added pressure from home

One thing wealthy Russians will have learned this weekend is that when a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That is now certainly the case for those who have invested heavily in Cyprus, where the 10,000-strong Russian community is thought to have as much as €35bn in deposit accounts.

Usain Bolt got the better of Yohan Blake over both 100 and 200 metres in London

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake back together in Jamaica relay team

Usain Bolt will run in the same 4 x 100m relay team as Yohan Blake at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on 27 June.

News
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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Day In a Page

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
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn