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Transparency of Romanov family execution probe impeccable, vows church official

"The investigation’s transparency and clarity and all related procedures are beyond any doubt," a church official says

MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. The newly-launched investigation into the killing of the Tsar’s family is transparent and impartial, so the Russian Orthodox Church will have an opportunity to make a balanced decision when it is over, the chief of the Synodal Department for Church-Society and Media Relations, Vladimir Legoida, said on Monday.

"The investigation’s transparency and clarity and all related procedures are beyond any doubt," the department’s press service quotes Legoida as saying. "Many tests and examinations held anew have unveiled new and important details."

Legoida recalled that during the previous investigation in the 1990s "there were more questions asked about the procedure as such, rather than the results of the forensic examinations, because it (the procedure) was held behind closed doors."

"Any attempts by the Church to get a clearer understanding of the procedure somehow: what samples were sent for DNA tests, what fragments and what remains instantly evoked high-handed replies: ‘The Prosecutor’s Office has recognized them! What doubts can you have?’" Legoida explained. "In a situation like that it is very difficult to make a balanced and responsible decision. Generally speaking, it is impossible to make."

These days, he believes, the situation is very different.

"If the remains are those of the royal martyrs, then they are relics to be worshiped by millions of Orthodox Christians. In this case, we cannot afford to make any mistakes," he said, adding that it will take some time to study and discuss the results.

Tsar Nicholas II and his family were shot in Yekaterinburg in 1918. Investigator Nikolay Sokolov, who was commissioned by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, the top figure in the White Movement in Russia’s Civil War, to look into the affair in 1919-1922 shortly after the execution, concluded that all bodies had been completely incinerated.

In the early 1990s, a group of volunteer diggers near Yekaterinburg found human remains that could have presumably been those of the Tsarist family. In 1998, they were buried in the Romanovs’ family grave in the St. Peter’s Fortress in St. Petersburg. The Russian Orthodox Church asked the investigators and the state commission a number of questions only to get no answers, which was sufficient reason to suspect that the examination was not thorough enough to recognize ‘the Yekaterinburg remains’ as authentic. Russia’s Investigative Committee resumed the investigation into the killing of the Russian royal family in September 2015.