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Russian investigators exhume remains of Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra

Russia’s Investigations Committee has reopened investigation of a criminal case over the slaying of Czar Nicholas II and his Imperial Family

ST. PETERSBURG, September 23. /TASS/. A group of investigators exhumed the remains of the last Russian emperor, Nicholas II, and his wife Alexandra from the tombs in the St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Petersburg on Wednesday to conduct additional research of the presumed remains of their children Alexis and Maria found in Yekaterinburg in 2007.

"The exhumation was done in the presence of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church," Senior Investigator Vladimir Solovyov, who heads the investigating team, told TASS.

"The necessary samples were taken from the remains of Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna," he said. "Also, samples for blood from the stains on the full-dress uniform of Emperor Alexander II, who was killed by radical revolutionaries on March 1, 1881," he said.

After the extraction of samples, the remains of the last Romanovs were put back to the crypt of the St Catherine's sacrarium in the St Peter and Paul's Cathedral.

Vladimir Markin, the official spokesman for the Investigations committee, said earlier in the day the steps taken on Wednesday were part and parcel of a broader task to do a study and identification of the remains of Nicholas II's son, Crown Prince Alexis, and daughter, Grand Princess Maria, as well as the remains of several members the Imperial Family's suite that were found near Yekaterinburg in the Urals in 2007, almost ninety years after Czar Nicholas, Empress Alexandra, their fiver children and several assistants were brutally slain in the basement floor of the Ipatyev House in Yekaterinburg by the Bolshevik revolutionaries.

Remains of other members of the Imperial Family, found in mid-1970's were identified in the mid-1990's and placed to rest in the Cathedral of St Peter and Paul.

For a number of reasons, the Russian Orthodox Church has always voiced doubts over the identity of all the remains.