Tsar's Children Could Face Common Grave

The Romanov Family Association includes descendants of the Romanov dynasty.
Left to right: Dimitri, Michael, Alexander, Nicholas, Rostislav, Andrew and Nikita in Paris, June 1992

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The remains of Grand Duchess Maria and Tsaryevich Alexei arrived in Moscow on Monday morning.

They were two of the children of Nikolai II, the last tsar of Russia, and the identity of their corpses was only confirmed in 2007.

The imperial bodies’ final resting place depends on an order from the Kremlin, after the head of the Romanov Family Association wrote to President Medvedev from Switzerland, asking a government commission to determine their ultimate destination, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

Last to appear

The imperial family were canonized in 2000, after their execution at the hands of the Bolsheviks on the night of July 17, 1918.

The bodies of Tsar Nikolai II, Tsarina Alexandra, and Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana and Anastasia were discovered in a pit in the forests around Yekaterinburg. They were laid to rest in St Petersburg in 1998.

The corpses of Alexei and Maria were separated after their executioners tried and failed to burn the remains, but the last two bodies were discovered in 2007.

In limbo

The Romanov appeal was lodged in May 2008, citing the genetic testing that confirmed the dead children’s identity. They have been waiting in a Yekaterinburg morgue for the last three years.

However, while the royal remains could end up with a state burial alongside their family in the Romanov mausoleum in Petersburg, pictured above, they could suffer a very different fate.

Without a presidential decree to put them in the vault or a similarly prestigious resting place, there will be no alternative but to deposit them in a public graveyard somewhere in Moscow.

Source: The Moscow News & RIA Novosti
21 February, 2011