Arts and Entertainment

One of the most brutal battles of the Second World War was the Nazi offensive against Stalingrad where atrocities were committed on both sides and the soldiers also had to contend with starvation and freezing conditions during a lengthy siege.

Fire at Moscow market kills 17 migrant workers

Seventeen migrant workers were killed in a fire today in a market warehouse on Moscow's outskirts where they had been living, Russian emergency officials and media said.

Marina Salye: Distinguished geologist who became a vociferous opponent of Putin

Marina Salye was a geologist of considerable repute, locating mineral deposits in the furthest and least hospitable reaches of the Soviet Union and producing dozens of academic papers and six monographs. But she came to prominence as a pugnacious and eloquent leader of the perestroika-era democratic movement in Leningrad, and as a sharp critic of Vladimir Putin ever since she uncovered gross financial malpractice in his St Petersburg office in the early 1990s.

Essoyan who exposed a rift in Sino-Soviet relations

Roy Essoyan: Reporter who exposed a rift in Sino-Soviet relations

Roy Essoyan, who died on 22 March aged 92, was a reporter who in 1958 exposed a serious split between China and the Soviet Union. Born in a Japanese fishing village just after his refugee family, originally from Armenia, landed there in 1919 after fleeing the Russian revolution, Essoyan arrived in the Soviet Union nearly four decades later as an American journalist, having become a US citizen after the Second World War.

Former Soviet KGB Leonid Shebarshin found dead in apparent suicide

Commemorative gun and diary revealing health problems found near body

Emily Tucker and Oliver King star in the UK premiere of 'A Warsaw Melody' at the Arcola Theatre in east London

A Warsaw Melody: From Russia with Love

The first ever UK staging of one of Russia's most frequently performed plays A Warsaw Melody opens in London this week. Written by Leonid Zorin in 1967, it was staged some 4,000 times in its first year. "It's almost a contemporary Romeo and Juliet," says its London-based Russian director Oleg Mirochnikov, who is also a top Russian dialogue coach, who worked with the cast of X-Men: First Class and World War Z. "I think a lot of British theatre companies don't look beyond Chekov. Maybe its a lack of curiosity."

Mikhail Bulgakov's Stalin-era satire, <i>The Master and Margarita</i>, at the Barbican

The Master and Margarita, Barbican, London
Sweeney Todd, Adelphi, London
Filumena, Almedia, London

Simon McBurney brings dazzling technology to his Bulgakov adaptation but little clarity. A Sondheim evergreen, meanwhile, is as fresh as ever

Open Jaw: Red tape and tourism

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John Demjanjuk after being found guilty at his trial in Munich in 2011; his wartime SS identity card

John Demjanjuk: Convicted Nazi guard who protested his innocence for three decades

Rarely was there a greater outward contrast between an accused and the terrible crimes of which he was found guilty. For friends, he was a doting grandfather, a retired Ukrainian immigrant who had worked in the US car industry and tended his surburban lawn outside Cleveland, Ohio. But for a German law court, and the Nazi-hunters who pursued John Demjanjuk for three decades, he was part of the machinery of genocide at Hitler's death camps.

Rights groups condemn Belarus over executions

Two men convicted of carrying out a deadly bombing on the Minsk underground railway last year have been executed.

Wladimir Putin won Russia's presidential election and addresses supporters in Kremlin, Moscow

Putin wins 'tainted' election

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rolled to victory in Russia's presidential election today, according to exit polls cited by state television, but the vote was tainted by claims of violations, including "carousel voting" in which voters were bused around to cast several ballots.

The latest polls suggest Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, will win Sunday’s presidential poll

Mary Dejevsky: Russia is changing and Putin must, too

The first complete book that any British student of Russian is likely to read in the original is Fathers and Sons, a novel by Ivan Turgenev. There are all sorts of reasons why that might be.

Belarus left isolated as EU nations withdraw ambassadors

The regime of Alexander Lukashenko is looking increasingly isolated today after European Union nations took the extraordinary step of jointly withdrawing all their ambassadors from Belarus.

Turkmenistan's president wins 97% of vote

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov won a new five-year term by capturing 97 per cent of the vote, election officials said today, but a Western expert called the vote a democratic sham.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, has urged Vladimir Putin to give up power

Putin has exhausted his potential, says Gorbachev

Vladimir Putin has "exhausted" his potential as Russia's leader, Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday, warning that the Prime Minister's inability to change the political system might prompt further anti-government protests.

Leading article: English justice – the oligarchs' choice

For almost four months, London's brand new Commercial Court has offered the bizarre spectacle of two Russian oligarchs – one a pugnacious political fugitive, the other the taciturn owner of Chelsea Football Club – fighting over the, for them, paltry sum of a couple billion pounds. The fleets of limousines, the posses of bodyguards and the corridor chatter in Russian all contrasted with the very British surroundings. Finally, the seemingly interminable proceedings are at an end, and Mrs Justice Gloster has reserved her judgment for as long as it takes.

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...