Russia’s Tsar’s remains exhumed to help confirm fate of ‘missing’ victims

September 26, 2015 7:37 am

 

’s Tsar Nicholas II and his family were murdered nearly a century ago.

Russian investigators have exhumed the remains of Tsar Nicholas II
and his wife Alexandra in an attempt to end the mystery surrounding the
family’s murders nearly a century ago.
Forensic experts took DNA
samples from Tsar Nicholas, his wife and his grandfather to help
establish the fate of the “missing” victims, the couple’s son Alexei and
his sister Maria.
The investigative committee believes that
human remains found in 2007 belong to Alexei and Maria but is conducting
the new study after the Russian Orthodox Church raised doubts over the
fate of the pair.
Nicholas, Russia’s last Romanov Tsar, was
deposed during the revolution of 1917 and sent into exile to
Ekaterinburg, in the Ural mountains, with members of his family and
household servants.
On July 17, 1918, they were led into a cellar, lined up as if for a family photograph, and murdered by a Bolshevik firing squad.

Witnesses said those who did not die immediately were finished off with bayonets.
The
remains were doused with acid and buried in an unmarked pit, where they
lay undiscovered until located by amateur researchers in 1979.
In 1991 the bodies of Nicholas, Alexandra and three daughters were exhumed and buried in St Petersburg.
An
investigation in 1993 used DNA samples to confirm that among the
remains were those of the Tsar. But two bodies were missing: those of
son and heir Alexei and his sister Maria.
In 2007, two more sets of remains – believed to be those of the missing siblings – were discovered nearby.
Further
tests confirmed the findings as genuine, but the Orthodox Church
queried the results and refused to allow the remains to be interred with
the rest of the family. As a result, they have remained in storage ever
since.
The case is especially significant because the family have been canonised.
Yet
because an early investigation concluded that the bodies had been
entirely destroyed, sceptics doubt that the remains are genuine.
The current investigation is meant to satisfy the Church so that a burial can finally go ahead this year.
“The
exhumation was done in the presence of the Orthodox Church. The
necessary samples were taken from the remains of Nicholas II and Empress
Alexandra Fyodorovna,” said the head of the investigation team.

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