Russian Court Rejects
Reopening Tsar Murder Probe

A Russian court has rejected the reopening of a probe into the murder of the last tsar
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Heirs of the murdered tsar pressed for a criminal probe saying it was necessary to come to terms with the brutal past.

MOSCOW, March 19, 2010 (AFP) - A Russian court Friday rejected a demand to reopen a probe into the execution of tsar Nicholas II and his family, lawyers for his descendants said, slamming the decision as legal anarchy.

"The court refused to recognise as illegal the decision to close the investigation," more than a year ago, Guerman Lukianov told the Interfax news agency.

Heirs of the murdered tsar, who was killed with his wife and their five children by Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918 at Yekaterinburg in the Urals, pressed for a criminal probe saying it was necessary to come to terms with the brutal past.

Russia's prosecutor general had ordered the inquest closed saying too much time had elapsed and all those involved were long dead.

Lukianov, who represents Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, a Romanov who styles herself as the heir to the imperial throne, denounced the "legal nihilism," and the "legal Trotskyism."

"The court did not examine the grounds on which the Romanovs were killed in the name of the state," he told the Ria Novosti news agency.

The murdered royals were recognised by Russia’s Supreme Court as victims of Bolshevik repression in 2008.

Remains believed to be of the tsar and his family were exhumed in 1991 and reburied in 1998 in the erstwhile imperial capital Saint Petersburg.

But the Russian Orthodox Church says it is still unclear whether the remains are of the royal family, a view held by many present day Romanovs who especially question the remains purported to be of the crown prince and his sister Maria.

This is despite DNA tests in Russia, Austria and the United States.

The dynasty ruled Russia for some 300 years before Nicholas II abdicated in 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution and ensuing Communist rule.

The Soviet authorities portrayed him as weak, vacillating and despotic but he was canonised by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.

Source: AFP
19 March, 2010