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Case of Russian Imperial family slaying reopened on request of Russian Orthodox Church

September 24, 2015, 15:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Investigative Commitee spokesman, the "reexamination of the criminal case is not an attempt to reconsider the evidence received earlier and established facts"
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Yekaterinburg's Ipatyev House where Nicholas II and members of his family were executed in July 1918

Yekaterinburg's Ipatyev House where Nicholas II and members of his family were executed in July 1918

© Fotokhronika TASS/Anatoly Semekhin

MOSCOW, September 24. /TASS/. The reexamination of the case of the Russian Imperial Romanov family’s death does not mean reassessment of earlier research and is connected solely with conducting additional investigation on Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) request, Russian Investigative Committee (SK) spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Thursday.

"The reexamination of the criminal case is not an attempt to reconsider the evidence received earlier and established facts, but rather represents the necessity of additionally investigating the new facts, which was requested by the Russian Orthodox Church," Markin said.

He said "an interdepartmental working group for the study and burial of the remains of Crown Prince Alexis and Grand Princess Maria gave its consent to conducting additional identification studies of the objects previously inaccessible for investigators." To this end, the investigators exhumed the remains of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Blood samples of Emperor Alexander II, Czar Nicholas II’s grandfather who died in a terrorist act in 1881 and whose blood stains are found on his full-dress uniform, kept in the State Hermitage Museum, have been taken.

"Part of these samples on ROC request was handed over to the ROC representatives to keep in safe custody," Markin said.

He said that additional identification studies would be held as soon as possible.

"The Investigative Committee has attracted to the examination world-renowned genetic scientists, which will use the most advanced technology and equipment ensuring the most objective results. All these investigative activities and examinations will be carried out in the shortest time possible," said the SK spokesman.

A criminal case for investigating the circumstances of death of a number of individuals related to the Imperial House of the Romanovs was instituted in 1993 pending the discovery of a collective burial site at Ganina Yama in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg. In the course of identification of the human remains found there the investigators drew a conclusion they might belong to members of the family of Nicholas II, the last Russian Czar, who were executed by shooting on the night from July 16 to July 17, 1918, in the basement floor of the Ipatyev house in Yekaterinburg.

Apart from Emperor Nicholas, Empress Alexandra, and Grand Princesses Olga, Tatiana, and Anastasia, the burial site appeared to contain the remains of the family doctor, Yevgeny Botkin, room maid Anna Demidova, the cook Ivan Kharitonov, and the butler Alexei Trupp.

In 1998, the case was closed in view of the death of the people who had committed the crime.

The remains of the Romanovs found at Ganina Yama were placed to rest in the St Catherine’s sacrarium of the St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in St Petersburg in the summer of 1998.

On July 29, 2007, fragments of bones and tenth of two persons - a woman and a child - with the traces of impact of high temperatures were found during the archeological excavations that aimed to tap the remains of Crown Prince Alexis and Grand Princess Maria. The find was made to the south of the site where the remains of nine members of the Romanov family and their assistants had been found earlier.

Investigation was renewed then to refine the data on the circumstances, in which members of the Czar’s family were killed and buried. Forensic studies proved the newly found remains belonged to Prince Alexis and Princess Maria.

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