Cossack charge at Gumbinnen, August 20th, 1914: A depiction of an eastern front battle between the German and Russian armies at Gumbinnen, East Prussia, now Gusev in Russia. Photograph: Culture Club/Getty Images
Ill-placed family trust

It was a nice day, slightly lifting his spirits. Nicholas II lunched with his two younger daughters before setting out by carriage for the Winter Pala(...)

Pro-Russian activists storm the regional government headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. Hundreds of pro-Russian separatists stormed the headquarters today, gaining access by breaking windows and facing no resistance from police. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

Pro-Russian demonstrators demanding more power for Ukraine’s regions have stormed the regional administration building in Luhansk, one of the l(...)

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party. Photograph: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

He has been called a buffoon, a madman and a Kremlin stooge. In the dour ranks of Russia’s political establishment, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has st(...)

Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament house, Sergei Naryshkin (2nd R) shakes hands with leaders of the Crimean parliamentary delegation speaker Vladimir Konstantinov (2nd L), prime minister Sergei Aksyonov (L) and Sevastopol Mayor Alexei Chaliy during a meeting in Moscow. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters.

Russia’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved a treaty to annex Crimea from Ukraine, leaving just one legal obstacle for the (...)

A woman holds a poster depicting Russian president Vladimir Putin during a recent protest at the Russian embassy in Madrid against Russia’s new law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. Photograph: Paul White/AP

A bill to remove parental rights from gays and lesbians who have children has been introduced in the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament. (...)

Children, affected by what activists say was a gas attack, breathe through oxygen masks in the Damascus suburb of Saqba. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

The areas targeted in a suspected chemical attack on Wednesday morning have been thorns in the side of the Syrian regime since the first protests brok(...)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a US defence contractor, is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in June.  Venezuela and Bolivia have offered Mr  Snowden asylum. Photograph: Reuters

A senior member of the Russian parliament said last night that political asylum in Venezuela would be “the best solution” for Edward Snowden, the fo(...)

Enforcing tradition

In the dubious spirit of protecting “tradition” – like “patriotism”, often the refuge of the scoundrel – Russia’s lower house, the Duma, on Tuesday un(...)