Remains may be children of last czar

  1. By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer Fri Sep 28, 2:13 PM ET

    MOSCOW - There is a "high degree of probability" that bone fragments found recently near the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are those of a daughter and son of the last czar, forensics experts said Friday.

    If confirmed, the find would fill in a missing chapter in the story of the doomed Romanovs, who were killed after the violent 1917 Bolshevik Revolution ushered in more than 70 years of Communist rule.
    The fragments were found by archaeologists in a burned field near the Ural Mountains city where Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their five children were held prisoner by the Bolsheviks and then shot in 1918. The discovery was announced in August.
    "Investigators have made a preliminary conclusion that there is a high degree of probability that the bones ... belong to the Crown Prince Alexei and Princess Maria," said Vladimir Gromov, deputy forensic chief in the Sverdlovsk region, in televised remarks. "I want to emphasize, though, that this conclusion has a deeply preliminary character."
    Alexei, 13, was the heir to the Russian throne.
    Federal forensic investigator Vladimir Solovyev said that conclusions were based on "anthropological and dental" tests, and he warned that the genetic tests would be difficult since the fragments were burned and badly damaged.
    NTV television said in August that along with the remains archaeologists found shards of a ceramic container of sulfuric acid as well as nails, metal strips from a wooden box, and bullets of various caliber.
    Prosecutors have said they would reopen an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the royal family, a decision that suggested the government was taking the discovery seriously.
    In 1998, remains unearthed from a mining pit in Yekaterinburg and identified as those of Nicholas and Alexandra and three of their daughters were reburied in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in the imperial-era capital of St. Petersburg. The ceremony, however, was shadowed by doubts — including from the Russian Orthodox Church — about their authenticity.
    Still, the royal family was canonized by the church in 2000.
    Descendants of the royal family have repeatedly petitioned Russian authorities to declare Nicholas and his family victims of political repression.
    On Wednesday, the prosecutor general's office again denied that request, saying no court or "extra-judicial body" had issued any sort of execution or repression order for the royals.
    Father Georgy Mitrofanov, a member of the church commission reviewing requests to canonize saints, said regardless of the outcome of the testing, Russia still needed confront the murders and reconcile with its violent history.
    "On the one hand, the remains of the killed czar were found and buried in a grand manner in the tomb at the ... Peter and Paul Fortress, but on the other hand 'monuments' to the executioners of the czar's family are still decorating our country," he said in televised comments.


    I have been fascinated by the Romanov family, and thought what happened them was so sad and tragic.
  2. Local villager Andrei Sidikov squats at the spot where the remains of last Russian czar Nicholas II's son and heir to the throne may have finally been found near Yekaterinburg, about 1500 kilometers (900 miles) east of Moscow, Friday, Aug. 24, 2007. A forensics official said Friday Sept 28 there is a 'high degree of probability' that bones found recently near the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are those of a daughter and son of the last czar. (AP Photo/Alexei Vladykin)
  3. Hmmm...interesting! I've always been intrigued by Russian history.
  4. Fascinating. I love Russian history and have always thought the Czars got a raw deal.
  5. Wow! The Revolution is an incredibly amazing story...
  6. It is! It was so horrible how the Bolsheviks had to resort to lining up a mother, a father and five children were lined up in a basement and shot, but it's amazing how much of a contrast there is between the opulence of the Csar and his family and everyone else.

    At first I thought, "Was killing them really necessary? They couldn't just have sent them out of the country somewhere?"

    Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that if you kill an enemy, you have to kill the other members of their family so they don't eventually seek you out for revenge.
  7. This story is so fascinating! The whole thing with the supposed missing princess...Anastacia?? was also intriguing to me.
  8. wow interesting.