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.

Alexander Litvinenko; Andrei Lugovoy said he would take no further steps to clear his name

Alexander Litvinenko murder suspect to avoid taking part in inquest

Andrei Lugovoy said he had 'lost all faith in the opportunity of an unbiased investigation in Britain'

Newcastle's players enjoy the atmosphere at the Luzhniki Stadium

Fan's Eye View: Over £800 quid to watch a 0-0 in freezing Moscow... and I loved it

I've just got back from a trip to a bitterly cold Moscow where I watched my team, Newcastle, grind out a 0-0 draw with those super-heavyweights of European football, Anzhi Makhachkala, in the Europa League.

The Newcastle manager believes the first leg will be a close affair

Newcastle United will adopt a winning mentality in Europa League against Anzhi Makhachkala

The Magpies play at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium

Chelsea will be keen to avoid big spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, who have Samuel Eto'o among their ranks

Steven Taylor relishing meeting with 'familiar face' Samuel Eto'o

Newcastle play Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League

Moscow anger at UK decision to give controversial banker Andrei Borodin asylum

A controversial Russian banker has been granted political asylum in Britain in a move which is likely to increase tension between London and Moscow.

Sergei Magnitsky: The lawyer tasked with investigating the alleged fraud against Hermitage died in prison in 2009 after he was beaten and prison officials refused him treatment for a medical condition

Family of Sergei Magntisky accuse Russian embassy in London of 'deliberately disseminating false information'

The whistle-blower died in a Moscow cell after months of torture

Van Cliburn: Piano virtuoso who helped thaw US-Soviet relations

New York reserves its tickertape parades for returning heroes – and in 1958 America had no greater hero than a young concert pianist from Texas named Van Cliburn. That spring he had travelled to Moscow to take part in the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition, an event intended to showcase Russian superiority in classical music. And, against every rational probability of that Cold War era, Cliburn won.

Litvinenko died in November 2006 after he was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at a meeting

Independent challenges secrecy at inquest into death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

A state order to withhold sensitive evidence from the inquest into Alexander Litvinenko’s death on national security grounds will be challenged by media organisations including The Independent tomorrow.

Eight arrested after kidnapped politician's body is found in a barrelof cement

Eight people have been arrested in Russia after a politician's body was found stuffed in a barrel of cement.

Portfolio: Sergey Semenov

So iconic is its topography that this oblong Arcadian idyll surrounded by a skyscraper-domineered metropolitan sprawl could scarcely be anywhere else in the world. Yet it's doubtful that many of us have seen New York's Central Park quite like this before.

A meteor trail is seen in this frame grab made from a dashboard camera on a highway in Kazakhstan

Why dash cams are an essential part of any Russian driver's kit

The car in front suddenly reverses and smashes into the bonnet. Immediately the driver and a man who appears to be a lawyer disembark and confront the driver of the vehicle they have rammed.

Cut-price start for Vladimir Putin’s pride

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to create a major financial centre in his country suffered a blow today when the flotation of the Moscow Exchange ended up priced at the bottom of the suggested range.

Bruce Willis (left) with Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch in 'A Good Day to Die Hard'

Film review: A Good Day to Die Hard (12A)

It's 25 years since Bruce Willis donned a sweaty vest to save the day in Die Hard. And 23 years since Die Hard 2, when he asked, disbelievingly, "How can shit like this happen to the same guy twice?" That question persisted right through to Die Hard 4.0, when Willis, as hard-ass cop John McClane, teamed up with an ace computer hacker (played by Justin Long) to save America, again.

Putin: Gessen argues that he presides over a corrupt and murderous regime

‘The Crutch’, ‘Bear Cub’ and...‘Pâté’? Police swoop on gangster gathering

Russian police made a rare swoop to arrest a number of alleged mafia kingpins at the weekend, raiding a restaurant get-together where crime groups were supposedly discussing their strategies.

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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
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor