House of Romanov Doubts Identity
of Ekaterinburg Remains

The remains believed to be those of Tsar Nicholas II and his family remain a bone of contention with the House of Romanov today.

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The House of Romanov has announced that the remains found near Yekaterinburg and buried in the crypt of Ss Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg may not be those of Nikolai II and his family.

“Certainly, alas, we can’t rule out such a possibility”, Aleksandr Zakatov, the Director of the Chancellery of the House of Romanov, told Interfax on Wednesday.

He emphasised that the priests who officiated at the burial of the Yekaterinburg remains on 17 July 1998 “didn’t use any particular name [at the service]. In any case, the remains were those of martyred people, victims of the terror. No one says that we should disturb their bones again, even if we can prove that they’re not the Romanovs. What’s done is done. May they rest in peace. However, we must settle the truth”.

He noted that when the first debate about the authenticity of Yekaterinburg remains surfaced, the head of the Romanov House, the late Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich suggested that we temporarily bury them in a church or chapel, then, do an honest, open, and verifiable examination without haste and excitement.

“However, in the 1990s, no one listened to the position of the Grand Duke; they wanted to make a political show by a certain date. The result was disastrous. The investigators and officials themselves did their best to sow distrust amongst the faithful and the public of their expertise”, Zakatov said. In his view, the state commission “ignored the position of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Imperial House.

If there are doubts, neither the Church nor the House of Romanov is guilty of the sin of leading people astray. Those who try to pressure the Church into issuing scandalous findings only drive the situation into a dead end. It’s possible that only the next generation of Russians could look into this matter calmly and objectively”.

In July 1991, archaeologists opened a gravesite at the Old Koptyakovskoy Road near Yekaterinburg; it contained the remains of nine people. It’s assumed that they belong to members of the royal family, Nikolai II, his 46-year-old wife Aleksandra, their daughters 22-year-old Olga, 21-year-old Tatiana, and 17-year-old Anastasia, as well as members of their entourage, 53-year-old Yevgeni Botkin , 40-year-old Anna Demidova, the 62-year-old Aleksei Trupp, and 48-year-old Ivan Kharitonov.

On 29 July 2007, during archaeological excavations 70 metres south of the first grave, at a depth of 60 centimetres, investigators found bone and tooth fragments. The identity of the victims and circumstances of their deaths wasn’t determined at the time of the excavation, but the location and nature of burial gave reason to believe that the remains were those of two children of Nikolai II, Tsarevich Aleksei, and his sister Maria.

Vladimir Solovyov, an investigator with the SKP RF, who headed the team carrying out the official inquiry into the murder of the royal family, told Interfax in January that he had no doubt that the remains discovered near Yekaterinburg were the remains of the imperial family. “We’re fully confident that the identification of the remains of the royal family is 100 percent correct”, Solovyov said.

Solovyov worked on the criminal case and investigation into the murder of Nikolai II and his family since 1993. On 14 January 2011, he signed an order terminating the criminal case.

Sources: Интерфакс
10 March, 2011

*Note: This article is from the Russian edition of Interfax, not the English edition, which has been edited.