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DNA Analysis Confirms Authenticity of Romanovs’ Remains

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the execution of Nicholas II and his family, an event that toppled Russia’s Romanov dynasty. Yesterday, as the country was preparing to commemorate their deaths, Russian investigators announced that new DNA testing had confirmed that remains attributed to last tsar and his family are in fact authentic—a finding that may pave the way for the deceased royals to be buried with full rites by the Orthodox Church, according to Agence France-Presse.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for probing serious crimes, said DNA analysis “confirmed the remains found belonged to the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members and members of their entourage.” As part of the new tests, investigators exhumed the body of Nicholas’ father, Alexander III to prove that the two are related, and also took DNA samples from living members of the Romanov family, according to the Moscow Times.

The new findings are the latest development in a tangled dispute over the remains of the Romanovs, whose downfall was nigh after Nicholas II was forced to abdicate the throne in the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Radical Bolsheviks took power and formed a provisional government, and the tsar, his wife, Alexandra and their five children were imprisoned in the city of Yekaterinburg. In 1918, civil war broke out between the communist government’s Red Army and the anti-Bolshevik White Army. As the White Army advanced on Yekaterinburg, local authorities were ordered to prevent the rescue of the Romanovs, and in the early hours of July 17, the family was executed by firing squad. Those who remained alive after the bullets stopped flying were stabbed to death.

Read entire article at Smithsonian