New Historian

Investigators Re-Examine Murders of Last Tsar and Wife

Photos taken by A. Bajetti of the last rulers of Russia - Empress Alexandra and Tsar Nicholas II taken from the Illustrierte Zeitung (2)

<![CDATA[An investigation into the murders of the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra has been re-opened by Russian investigators, in an effort by the Orthodox Church to confirm family links. Killed in 1918 by Bolshevik revolutionaries, the Romanov family is interred in a cathedral in St. Petersburg. Church officials want to confirm blood ties with other deceased relatives so they can be re-interred with family members. Investigators took samples from the Tsar and his wife. Additionally, the bloodstained uniform of Nicholas’ grandfather, Tsar Alexander II who was killed in 1881, was also sampled. The case of the Romanov murders had been resolved nearly 20 years ago, when DNA testing conducted in 1998 on the contents of a mass grave discovered in the Urals seven years earlier was able to confirm the remains of Nicholas and Alexandra were present in the grave. However, some members of the Church have remained skeptical as a different location in the Urals was revealed to be the resting place of Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria Romanov in 2007. The new investigation is to authenticate the more recently found remains, according to the state-sanctioned Investigative Committee. Russian officials want to re-inter both Alexei and Maria with the rest of the family in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Before that can occur, however, the Church needs assurances that the two sets of remains are indeed Alexei and Maria. Nicholas II, Alexandra, Alexei, Maria, and three additional daughters (Tatiana, Olga, and Anastasia) were shot to death in 1918 along with four loyal staff members. They had been been sheltering in a Yekaterinburg house cellar when Bolshevik revolutionaries unleashed a hail of bullets. Eyewitness accounts reported at the time that any members of the royal family that weren’t killed outright were slain by bayonets. On the 80th anniversary of their murder, Nicolas and Alexandra were re-buried along with three of their four daughters, in 1998. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized them just two years later. Both Alexei and Maria are planned to be canonized as well before 2018, the 100th anniversary of their murders. The Russian State Archives currently keeps their remains under lock and key. A remaining descendant of the Romanovs has expressed support for this new investigation, according to her lawyer. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna’s attorney, German Lukyanov, was quoted by the Tass news agency as saying that there were aspects of the royal family’s murder that were not fully explained, adding that there were still some questions posed by the Church that had been left unanswered. Lukyanov added that the grand duchess has high hopes that the remains in question will be able to be identified once and for all – and that if they are the remains of Alexei and Maria, they can be reunited with their family in death. Image by: A. Pasetti, St. Petersburg, created before 1901]]>

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