News Dima Litvinov became the first member of the so-called 'Arctic 30' to leave Russia; boarding a train at a railway station in St. Petersburg

The first of 30 Greenpeace activists arrested after a protest over Arctic oil drilling has left Russia, the environmental group said on Thursday, with all expected to get clearance to leave Russia by Friday.

Russian authorities in second raid on BP's Moscow offices

The Russian premises of the oil giant BP were searched yesterday for the second time in recent months, prompting renewed fears of a campaign to pressure shareholders into selling their stakes to a state-controlled company. Additionally, the Russian Interior Ministry said it was investigating back-tax claims against two units linked to the company.

Book of the Week: Football Dynamo, by Marc Bennetts

A sign of Russia's boom times is that Zenit St Petersburg, bankrolled by the energy giant Gazprom, plan to take up their entire 13,000 ticket allocation for Wednesday's Uefa Cup final against Rangers in Manchester. But unlike many other Russian teams, they will take the field without one black player. "They have always known the fans would be against it," says a Zenit hooligan to Marc Bennetts. An Englishman who has lived in Moscow for over a decade, speaks the language and is an avowed fan of Russian football, Bennetts has produced an engrossing, authoritative account of the game in his adopted country as it makes a growing mark in Europe. Yet he does not shy away from the endemic corruption, racism and hooliganism, including a hair-raising account of how one team manager hired gun-toting thugs to attack five of his own players, whom he suspected of taking bribes to throw games. More Russian roulette than the beautiful game at times, it seems.

BP keeps staff off work in Russian visa row

Fresh doubts have surfaced about the security of BP's business in Russia after its subsidiary TNK-BP told nearly 150 workers not to go to work after Russian authorities warned that their visas were no longer valid.

Putin steps in with deal to end Ukraine gas supply crisis

Vladimir Putin, the outgoing president of Russia, stepped in yesterday to defuse a crisis that threatened to slash gas supplies to Europe after Gazprom, the state-owned oil giant, cut the flow to the Ukraine.

European gas supplies will be hit by Ukraine dispute

Under-pressure Ukraine said today it would reduce gas supplies to Western Europe because of Russian cuts to its own supply.

Gazprom cuts gas supplies to Ukraine

Gazprom yesterday promised western European countries they would not be affected by the latest escalation in the Russian energy giant's bitter row with Ukraine, as it cut supplies to the country by 25 per cent.

Dmitry Medvedev: The new man

The Western world might not like the way he got his job – on a nod from Vladimir Putin, endorsed by a highly managed, if not actually rigged, election. Nor – it has to be said – do his three lacklustre opponents, who have railed in vain against his domination of the airwaves. But Dmitry Medvedev is a man we are all going to have to learn to do business with. When the last results come in tomorrow night, he will be officially designated Russia's next head of state. He will be inaugurated as President at the beginning of May.

Putin's heir struggles to come out of his master's shadow

It should have been the moment when Dmitry Medvedev finally staked an aggressive claim to the Russian presidency and implored Russians to vote for him. His campaign team suggested it would be the perfect place to see him in action ahead of Sunday's election, where he is expected to win around 70 per cent of the votes.

Deputy PM denies Russia would cut energy supplies

A new row over gas supply payments burst into the open on the eve of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's visit to Russia, threatening to complicate attempts to consolidate ties between Moscow and Kiev.

Leading article: The stench of blackmail

There is a depressing sense of déjà vu about the latest energy dispute between Russia and Ukraine, again featuring the Kremlin threatening to turn the gas off, "more in sorrow than in anger".

Putin's heir rocks to sound of Deep Purple

Politicians seem to be queuing up these days to proclaim their trendy music credentials to image-conscious voters. First Gordon Brown waxed lyrical about his love for the "very loud" Arctic Monkeys. Then David Cameron got in on the act by including the Killers in his Desert Island Discs selection.

Hayward to reveal BP's green shoots

BP chief executive Tony Hayward is this week expected to put the problems of a self-confessed "dreadful" 2007 behind him when he unveils the green shoots of recovery at the struggling oil major.

Russian minister exposes split in Putin's government

Just over a month before Russia's presidential elections, the hidden battle raging within the ruling class again spilt into the open yesterday, as one of Vladimir Putin's top ministers called for a change in foreign policy.

Serbs queue in the cold for free shares in nationalised firms

Serbs queued in the cold at post offices across the country yesterday to collect free shares in six of Serbia's state-owned companies, hoping that after years of war and economic hardship their luck will change.

Serbs sell 'family silver' to Russia

Serbia surrendered its energy independence to Russia for just €400m (£295m) yesterday, by signing a deal which gives Moscow control over the Oil Industry of Serbia – the national equivalent of the "family silver" – and the right to route a major European gas pipeline through Serbian territory. Its real value is about €2bn.

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