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1 Oct, 2008 12:02

Last tsar’s family rehabilitated

Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled that the last Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were victims of political repression and should be rehabilitated.

Until now lower courts had refused to reclassify the killings, ruling that it was simply murder and there were no signs of oppression from the state, a claim always rejected by the descendents lawyer.

“There was a verdict, there was a telegram sent from Ekaterinburg to Moscow. The order given by Vladimir Lenin. Soviet authorities were legal power at the time and carried out the execution of Tsar Nicholas 2 and his family,” says the lawyer of the Romanov family, German Lukyanov.

The General Prosecutor’s office argued they were killed without any charges or a court order so there was no need to rehabilitate them.

The head of the Romanov family, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, insisted the last Russian emperor and his family were killed for political motives. The Supreme Court finally backed her position on Wednesday.

“We couldn't bear the fact that the Saint members of the last Russian Royal family were considered criminals, now their good name has been restored from a legal point of view,” says Alexander Zakatov, head of Russian Imperial House's chancellery.

After the February revolution in 1917 the Tsar and his family were first moved to Siberia and later to the Urals.

They were held in the Ipatiev house in the centre of Ekaterinburg, which was surrounded by a high fence.

No one was allowed inside without special permission and it was there they stayed until they were executed, without trial, for being enemies of the people.

And that was the view of the Soviet state for most of the last century, with Nicholas II regarded as a tyrant.

But since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 official attitudes have changed dramatically.

The remains of the last Tsar’s family and their servants were discovered in the early 1990s and since then investigators have identified all the victims.

In 1998 the royal family was reburied in a chapel in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St.Petersburg, where many Russian Tsars are buried.

Two years later they were canonised as “passion bearers” for the way they died.

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Last Tsar's family denied rehabilitation

Tsar's family seeks historical truth