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.
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Saturday 16 October 2010
Every week we invite competing holiday companies to give us their best deal for a specified holiday. Today: a long weekend in St Petersburg in late November. Prices are per person, based on two travelling together.
Tuesday 07 September 2010
Monday 06 September 2010
Russia's next presidential election is not until 2012, but speculation is already rife about whether Dmitry Medvedev will try for a second term or whether his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, will want to reclaim his old job. The one thing almost everyone can agree on is that they will not stand against each other. But there might just be a third way, and that third way could give Russia its very own Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel.
Tuesday 31 August 2010
Scores of bare-chested skinheads have attacked a crowd of about 3,000 people at a rock concert in central Russia, beating them with clubs, according to local media reports.
Saturday 28 August 2010
Saturday 28 August 2010
By the banks of a trickling stream in what is now western Georgia, a man dressed in a sharp black suit and hat perches on a stone and stares into the distance.
Tuesday 20 July 2010
Cruel? Yes. Funny? Yes. Here’s what’s tickling the newsroom today
Mikhailovsky Ballet, Coliseum, London<br/>The Rude Mechanicals, Little Horsted School Field, east Sussex
Sunday 18 July 2010
Saturday 17 July 2010
A group of divers exploring a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea have found bottles containing what is thought to be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world, made in the late 18th century. "I picked up one champagne bottle just so we could find the age of the wreck, because we didn't find any name or any details that would have told us the name of the ship," diver Christian Ekstrom from Aland told Reuters today.
Friday 02 July 2010
Saturday 26 June 2010
The world's largest collection of fruits and berries may be bulldozed this year to make way for a Russian housing development, it emerged yesterday.
Wednesday 16 June 2010
Elena Shvarts is acknowledged by many as one of the most important and interesting poets of her generation. Many fellow poets, including Bella Akhmadulina and Olga Sedakova, dedicated poems to her. Shvarts continued the tradition of Khlebnikov, Kuzmin, Tsvetaeva and Zabolotsky, although none of them could be called her teacher: her imagination and style were entirely individual. The loss of Shvarts for Russian poetry is comparable only to the death of Joseph Brodsky in 1996.
Marina Semyonova: Dancer who dominated Soviet ballet in the 1930s and became an inspirational teacher
Friday 11 June 2010
Marina Semyonova was a virtuoso ballerina of great warmth and clarity; majestically graceful, she was able to colour her movement with a rare harmony of strength and lyricism. Unlike the ballerinas of her time she was tall, which gave her an authority and a breadth of line and dramatic beauty. She was the pride and joy of Soviet ballet during the 1930s.
Tuesday 01 June 2010
Moscow police ruthlessly crushed one of the largest opposition protests of recent years yesterday evening, just two days after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said that similar rallies should be allowed to take place.
Friday 14 May 2010
Helen Dunmore's 2001 novel, The Siege, ended with a long-shot of Anna, her lover, Andrei, and little Kolya, Anna's brother, walking in spring sunshine in a Leningrad still traumatised by the recent German blockade. They look like an ordinary family of parents and child, the narrator observes, "but, of course, they are not". These, the novel's unsettling last words, point towards the most important theme of its sequel, The Betrayal. For Anna and Andrei, their "family unit" is a precious, sanity-saving defence against public tyranny. But it is not, of course, unassailable.
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
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