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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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
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

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Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

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Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

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Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
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Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

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Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

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