Voices

When Maria Miller travels to Sochi next week, she must seize the opportunity to raise the issue of LGBT rights with Russian officials

Topless Christmas Day Femen protest in Cologne Cathedral slammed as ‘unnecessary disturbance’

Germany’s left-wing Green Party among those criticising anti-Catholic demonstration as ‘disrespectful’

2013 - the year in review: It took his death, but the world came together for a moment for Nelson Mandela

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel claimed that he couldn’t afford the trip. His absence reminded us of Israel’s closeness to the apartheid regime

Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin visited Sochi earlier this year

Putin’s charm offensive is about more than just the Sochi Winter Olympics

Russia wants and needs help with major modernisation, not just in the energy sector, but with all kinds of capital projects

Greenpeace International activist Mannes Ubels from the Netherlands jumps for joy holding his passport outside of the offices of the Federal Migration Service Department in St. Petersburg after receiving a Russian transit visa

Arctic 30 heading home after being cleared under Putin amnesty

30 Greenpeace activists detained in September will have left the country by the end of the weekend after having their charges dropped and being issued transit visas

The Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Pussy Riot prison releases reveal the dilemma of mature Putinism

Khodorkovsky’s release may well have been intended to further those goals by sending a positive signal about Russia's future business climate

Maria Alyokhina, the Pussy Riot member who was released under an amnesty today, speaks on the phone to denounce her newfound freedom as a 'PR stunt'

Two jailed members of Pussy Riot Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova released from prison following Russian government amnesty

Alyokhina said the amnesty was a ‘PR stunt’ and she would have stayed in prison if she could

The former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands next to a poster of himself, part of the Wall Museum exhibition near the old Berlin Wall

Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks out: ‘I am not the last political prisoner’

Speaking for the first time since his release, Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he will campaign for fellow inmates in Russia and across the world but will not challenge President Putin’s authority

Women’s double: Delegates Billie Jean King (left) and Caitlin Cahow seek the universal acceptance of all people

The Last Word: A clear message to Putin and all those blocking equality

Appointing Billie Jean King as US delegate to Sochi will help athletes’ political and personal battle

David Cameron's absence is not a remark on Russia's stance on gay rights, according to Downing Street

David Cameron to skip Sochi Olympics – but insists it’s not a boycott

David Cameron is not planning to attend the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Downing Street said on Friday, but insisted the move was not a statement about Russia’s stance on gay rights.

US Figure-skating champion Brian Boitano comes out as gay

US figure-skating champion Brian Boitano comes out as gay

Boitano now joins tennis ace and activist Billie Jean King and hockey play Caitlin Cahow to represent America during the Sochi Winter Games

Who said it: Joseph Stalin or Oliver Cromwell?

Vladimir Putin has compared Joseph Stalin with 17th century Roundhead leader Oliver Cromwell, saying there was no difference between the two men.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has spent the last 10 years in prison on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement

Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrives in Germany, a free man at last – but what will Vladimir Putin’s enemy do next?

Mikhail Khodorkovsky flies to Berlin after release from jail confirmed by Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was no worse than Oliver Cromwell

The Russian President made the comments at a press conference after he was asked about a monument to Stalin being put up in Moscow

Alec Luhn's Sketch: The press pack with tsars in their eyes

Vladimir Putin played the role of the good tsar at his annual press conference, fielding questions, repeated declarations of grateful praise and requests to deal with unscrupulous businessmen and lazy bureaucrats. One excited journalist even credited him with an improvement in her love life, noting that she had “finally gotten married” shortly after meeting him in March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow; he later announced the surprise early release of the former Yukos oil tycoon

Mikhail Khodorkovsky pardoned: Russian President Vladimir Putin to free former political nemesis after 10 years in prison

The former oil tycoon is to be pardoned after as part of an ‘amnesty project’ by the Kremlin ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics next year

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Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona from £949pp
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro from £799pp
Provence from £599pp
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Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples from £759
Classical Spain from £539pp
Prices correct as of 12 September 2014
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Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
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'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

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Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

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‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week