Topic: 400th Anniversary
This year, Russia celebrates 400 years of the Romanov dynasty, which goes back to 1613 when nobleman Mikhail Romanov was elected to rule the country. The grand celebration plans are perfectly in keeping with Russia's recent political trend of recognizing its historical roots.
Meanwhile, the remains of the last Romanov heir, Tsesarevich Alexei, and his sister, Grand Duchess Maria have still not been buried. While their remains are stored in boxes at the National Archives, the Moscow Patriarchate continues to be at the center of a scandal.
The theme of children is exceptionally popular these days. Heated debates continue over adoptions, child abuse, and the frequent kidnappings and killings of children in Russia. And there is one more notorious “child” problem there for all to see but going completely ignored: a murdered child that has not been able to rest in peace for almost 100 years now.
In 1998, the remains of Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their three daughters, discovered near Yekaterinburg, were buried in a crypt in the Peter and Paul Cathedral. It was not until nine years later that the remains of the heir and another grand duchess, Maria, were found, not far from the rest of the family. The fragments of bones, weighing only a few grams, were given over for investigation purposes until the summer of 2011, when they were handed over to the National Archives – almost discreetly, in the presence of just an investigator, the archive director and a few others.
It was stressed that the archives would store the remains only temporarily before they were to be buried next to the family in the crypt. That was 18 months ago.
“Last summer we held a special exhibition dedicated to the last years of the Romanov family and their murder,” say the staff of the Exhibition Hall at the National Archives. “We were hoping to remind the officials of the two Imperial children that are still waiting to be buried, but it didn't happen. “The people who are supposed to bring an end to this tragic story are reluctant to disturb the past. It is up to top officials to take the initiative and arrange a burial ceremony but they are keeping silent. The president and the government prefer to avoid the issue. There do not seem to be any obstacles standing in the way of arranging a proper funeral though. Russian Orthodox Church officials refuse to accept the fact that the bones belong to the Imperial family and this may in fact be the real reason behind the reluctance to put the matter to rest.
© Moscovsky Komsomolets and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 March, 2013