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.

The Nutcracker, Coliseum, London

Strip away the outsize costumes and dream noodling, and marvel at the dancing
People shout during an authorized opposition protest in Moscow against the alleging mass fraud in the parliamentary polls

Russian mass protests over alleged election fraud

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Russia today to demand an end to Vladimir Putin's rule and a rerun of a parliamentary election in the biggest opposition protests since he rose to power more than a decade ago.

Police patrol on Manezhnaya square outside the Kremlin in Moscow. They plan to be out in force tomorow

Putin attacks US for stirring up anger on streets

Vladimir Putin launched an extraordinary attack on the United States yesterday, blaming the Americans for stoking discontent in Russia in his first major comments on the street protests that have sprung up since parliamentary elections on Sunday.

Police patrol on Manezhnaya square outside the Kremlin in Moscow. They plan to be out in force tomorow

Putin blames America for Russia's election protests

Hillary Clinton singled out for supporting opposition politicians over 'rigged poll' claims

Vladimir Putin accuses US over poll protests

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of encouraging and supporting the election protesters and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on unrest.

Security troops blanket Moscow

A huge security operation covered Moscow today in a show of force following protests over scandal-marred elections that saw Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's party struggle to keep a majority.

Shaun Walker: Star of Russian blogosphere gains support for his views on nationalism

At Monday night's opposition rally, there were cheers for all the speakers, but the crowd got most excited when Alexei Navalny took to the stage. Tall, confident and charismatic, he vaulted a railing to get to the podium, and strode up to the microphone to cheering. "Navalny for President," shouted people around me.

Eight killed in Chechnya suicide bombings

Russia's top investigative body says eight people including seven policeman have died after suicide bombings in the capital of Chechnya.

Red poets' society: Why did powerful Russian Communists fear the work of impoverished poets?

People who call themselves Guido are invariably trouble. One tried to blow up Parliament, another writes a right wing libertarian blog and a third, little known to the British public, led a rampaging gang of anarchists in Moscow 90 years ago.

Crackdown on Russian laser craze to blind pilots

Russian security services yesterday arrested a man they believe has been trying to blind pilots of aeroplanes coming into land by using a powerful laser beam.

Government Inspector, Young Vic, London

An inspector enthrals in a comic classic

Caught & Social: Pair party for Russia with love

Anne Hathaway might be a member of the Hollywood A-list but supermodel Natalia Vodianova was the guest of honour at last night’s For Russia With Love party.

Who needs Mickey when Winter's on your side?

A new film about an injured dolphin is about to put Florida's Gulf coast in the spotlight. But there are more reasons to come here, says Kate Simon

Who needs an allotment if you've got a city-centre balcony?

It's all very well all the smug gardeners you know going on about which heritage veg they are sowing this year. But what happens if all your outside space is covered in Tarmacadam, thank you very much? And located a handy seven flights up? In the past, you'd have had to pick your way through conventional veg-growing books to find the little bits that apply to you, fast-forwarding, wistfully, through the sections on double-digging and where to put the compost heap.

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Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
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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
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
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Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
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Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
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Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
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Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little