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15 Jan, 2009 06:59

All of Tsar Nicholas the Second’s family accounted for

The murder of the last Tsar and his family has been one of the great mysteries in Russian history, but investigators are finally bringing the case to a close.

They now have conclusive identification of the Royal family's remains.

For descendants of Tsar Nicholas II it has brought closure.

“The head of the Russian Imperial House Maria Romanova thinks that enough time has passed since the launch of investigation in 1993 to come to a conclusion as to whose remains were discovered near Yekaterinburg,” explains lawyer to the Romanov family German Lukianov. “For every person it's important that their relatives are buried according to tradition. It will show to society that we care about our history and our ancestors”.

Tsar Nicholas the Second, his wife and their five children were shot dead in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg in 1918 on the order of the revolutionary Soviet authorities. Their bodies were buried in secret in the city's outskirts.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a Yekaterinburg scientist claimed he had found the graves. The remains of nine bodies were discovered. DNA and other tests conducted by Russian and international scientists proved they were those of the tsar, his wife and three daughters, along with the four people executed with them.

The bodies of Prince Aleksey and his sister Maria, however, were still missing. In 2007 the bones of a boy and a young woman were found near the exhumed grave and were examined by scientists too.

Investigators are certain about the results:

“Thorough examination in anthropology, genetics and pathology have given a definitive answer – these are the remains of Prince Aleksey and Princess Maria,” said Senior Investigator Vladimir Solovyov.

Investigators say the probe lasting more than 15 years is over. Now it's up to Russian authorities to decide where and when the remains of the last Russian tsar’s two children are to be buried.

Meanwhile, historians say closing the case is more than just a tribute to the dead.

“Through Nicholas the Second, Russians realise that their country started not from 1917, but from centuries before that,” believes historian Vladimir Lavrov.