Russian TV personality Ksenia Sobchak, who plans to stand in next year’s presidential election in opposition to Vladimir Putin.  Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

“I have no political weight, and I haven’t earned the right to launch some kind of political programme or stand as a candidate,” said Ksenia Sobchak, (...)

TV host Ksenia Sobchak during a protest in Moscow against the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as president in May 2012. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Ksenia Sobchak, a famous Russian TV presenter, socialite and fashionista whose late father was a political mentor to Vladimir Putin, has announced pla(...)

Russian president Vladimir Putin (centre): the Kremlin wants World Cup 2018 to be a showcase for Putin’s Russia, just like the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters

The mayor of Kaliningrad, a host city for the World Cup in Russia next year, has offered some striking match-day advice to its residents: don’t hit th(...)

Police collect evidence at the site of the murder of Denis Voronenkov, last March, in Kiev. Photograph: Ivan Kovalenko/Kommersant via Getty Images

Ukrainian prosecutors say former Russian deputy Denis Voronenkov was shot dead in Kiev in March on the orders of his wife’s ex-partner, who they alleg(...)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky: “They are trying to keep their opponents’ mouths shut.” Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Political tensions rose in Russia on Thursday as police swooped on the homes of opposition activists linked to Open Russia, a pro-democracy group fou(...)

Fighters from the Hashed al-Shaabi backing the Iraqi forces, advance through Hawija, after retaking the city from Islamic State group fighters. Photograph: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Iraqi forces announced on Thursday they had captured Islamic State’s last stronghold in northern Iraq, leaving the militant group holed up near the Sy(...)

Residents who support a united Spain give their farewell to Spanish police officer leaving the Pineda de Mar hotels in Barcelona. Photograph: Andreu Dalmau/EPA

Most of today’s nations emerged from the dissolution of empires. Nationalisms now threaten the dissolution of states. The independence movement in Cat(...)

Russian opposition leader  Alexei Navalny: has called for protests at St Petersburg and Moscow on Saturday.   Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny called on his supporters on Wednesday to hold street protests this weekend across Russia, in defiance of an official ban(...)

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny (centre)  at the Simonovsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, today. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

A court sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 20 days in jail on Monday on charges of repeatedly violating laws governing the organisa(...)

Syrian Kurds wave the Kurdish flag, in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli during a gathering in support of the independence referendum in the  Kurdish region. Photograph: Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most powerful Shia cleric, has called on Iraqi Kurds to “return to the path of the constitution” and end effort(...)