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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone