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.

Russia bails more Greenpeace activists

Nine activists told they would be bailed after St Petersburg court hearings

Vladimir Putin is awarded grandmaster rank in taekwondo and given black belt - despite not practising the sport

Russian president now ranks higher than Chuck Norris in South Korean martial art

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova behind bars. She has been missing for more than three weeks

Pussy riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova now missing for more than three weeks – with her disappearance sparking fears some of the Greenpeace 30 could also be 'lost'

Family of British man Iain Rogers say they won’t be happy until all prisoners arrive safely in St Petersburg

Vince Cable will use his talks in Russia to address concerns over the activists' treatment

Cable to address Greenpeace protesters’ arrests in Russia

Business Secretary Vince Cable has promised to use talks with Russian government ministers to highlight UK concerns about the case of Greenpeace protesters awaiting trial for alleged “hooliganism”.

Russian artist nails genitals to Red Square pavement in protest act

Pyotr Pavlensky nailed himself in protest against 'the police state'

The Murmansk detention centre where 28 Greenpeace activists, a freelance photojournalist and a film maker were being held

Russia transfers detained Greenpeace activists to St Petersburg

30 men and women detained in September when Arctic Sunrise stormed by Russian military are being transported from remote northern city of Murmansk

Art of the matter: the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg

My life in travel: Henry Blofeld

'I'm quite the expert on honeymoons'

Speedo-clad Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov floats in London

He sold his last business to Roman Abramovich and posed in his autobiography wearing nothing but skintight, neon Speedos.

Diarrhoea bug hits 130 passengers on Fred Olsen cruise ship

Around 130 people have caught a sickness and diarrhoea bug during a 12-night luxury cruise.

A psychiatric hospital was destroyed by fire in the Novgorod region town of Luka.

Thirty-seven die as 19th Century wooden psychiatric hospital in Russia burns down

Fire is thought to have been caused by a patient either smoking or setting himself alight

Syria civil war: Russia sends another navy ship to the Mediterranean

The deployment follows a spy ship sent to the region on Monday

David Cameron 'would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience' than the UK

G20 summit: David Cameron responds to Russia's alleged 'small island' jibe against Britain

Cameron has had to battle perceptions of isolation during the summit in St Petersburg

David Cameron pledges additional £52m UK aid for Syria at G20 meeting

New money to be spent on medical training and equipment for gas attack survivor

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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 17 April 2015
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence