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My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

DNA Tests Confirm the Deaths of the Last Missing Romanovs

“This has confirmed that indeed it is the children...We have now found the entire family.”

From the New York Times:

May 1, 2008

DNA Tests Confirm the Deaths of the Last Missing Romanovs


MOSCOW (AP) — For nine decades after Bolshevik executioners shot Czar Nicholas II and his family, there were no traces of the remains of Crown Prince Aleksei, the hemophiliac heir to Russia's throne.

Some said the prince, a delicate 13-year-old, had somehow survived and escaped; others believed he was buried in secret as the country lurched into civil war.

Now an official says DNA tests have solved the mystery by identifying bone shards found in a forest as those of Aleksei and his sister Grand Duchess Maria.

The remains of their parents, Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra, and three siblings, including the czar’s youngest daughter, Anastasia, were unearthed in 1991 and reburied in the imperial resting place in St. Petersburg. The Russian Orthodox Church made all seven of them saints in 2000.

Researchers unearthed the bone shards last summer in a forest near Yekaterinburg, where the royal family was killed, and enlisted laboratories in Russia and the United States to conduct DNA tests.

Eduard Rossel, governor of the region 900 miles east of Moscow, said Wednesday that tests done by an American laboratory had identified the shards as those of Aleksei and Maria.

“This has confirmed that indeed it is the children,” he said. “We have now found the entire family.”

Mr. Rossel did not specify the laboratory, but a genetic research team working at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has been involved in the process. Evgeny Rogaev, who headed the team that tested the remains in Moscow and at the medical school in Worcester, Mass., was called into the case by the Russian Federation Prosecutor’s Office.

He said Wednesday that he had delivered the results to the Russian authorities, but that it was up to the prosecutor’s office to disclose the findings.

“The most difficult work is done, and we have delivered to them our expert analysis, but we are still working,” he said. “Scientifically, we want to make the most complete investigation possible.” Despite the earlier discoveries and ceremonies, the absence of Aleksei’s and Maria’s remains gnawed at descendants of the Romanovs, history buffs and royalists. Even if the announcement is confirmed and widely accepted, many descendants of the royal family are unlikely to be fully assuaged; they seek formal rehabilitation by the government.

“The tragedy of the czar’s family will only end when the family is declared victims of political repression,” said German Lukyanov, a lawyer for royal descendants.

Nicholas abdicated in 1917 as revolutionary fervor swept Russia, and he and his family were detained. They were shot by a firing squad on July 17, 1918, in the basement of a house in Yekaterinburg.



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