St Petersburg beats Moscow in fight for tsar's bones
It said that the burial should take place on 17 July, the 80th anniversary of the family's murder by a Bolshevik firing squad. Although the final decision rests with Boris Yeltsin, he is considered unlikely to overturn the commission's findings, which follow a ferocious tug-of-war over the bones between the leadership of three cities, Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg.
St Petersburg has long argued that it has the right to the remains as it is the resting place of most of the tsars, including Peter the Great, who built the city, and Catherine II. Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, and three daughters are expected to be buried in a lady chapel at the entrance to the Peter and Paul Cathedral on an island in the River Neva. Work has been under way preparing their tomb for some months.
The decision by the commission, which was appointed by Boris Yeltsin, is a defeat for Moscow's pugnacious and powerful mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, who was keen to acquire prestigious relics for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which was levelled by Stalin but whose sparkling dome has risen anew on the banks of the Moscow River. Nor will it be welcomed by Yekaterinburg - Boris Yeltsin's former stamping ground, 1,000 miles east of Moscow - which was gunning hard to keep the bones, in the hope of attracting large numbers of Orthodox pilgrims and other sightseers.
The city's case was put by another political heavyweight, the regional governor, Eduard Rossel, who now claims to have found the bones of Nicholas's son, Alexei, and one of his daughters, Maria - remains that were not found when the rest of the acid-decayed Romanov remains were exhumed in 1991. The Yeltsin administration hopes that the burial will help to clarify post-Soviet Russia's relationship to its former monarchy - an ambiguity matched only by their view of Lenin, whose embalmed corpse still lies in Red Square, but whom - to the ire of Communists - President Boris Yeltsin has always wanted to bury.
As Russia struggles to find a new identity, opinions of the Romanovs vary from contempt, to indifference, to reverential awe. Showing little heed for his disastrously inept rule which ended in abdication, the Russian Orthodox Church is discussing canonising Nicholas, but it has said the burial can go ahead before it reaches a decision. The commission, under the reformer Boris Nemtsov, rejected proposals to bury the Romanovs on 1 March, although some regarded the date as apt: it is Orthodoxy's Forgiveness Sunday.
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...