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DNA Tests Confirm Romanovs’ Remains 100 Years After Brutal Assassination

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The newest round of DNA tests on the bodies of the last of the Romanov family confirms that the bones belong to Russia's last imperial family.

Russian authorities announced their findings exactly 100 years after Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra were murdered by the Bolshevik secret police under the command of Yakov Yurovsky.

Their five children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Nicholas's heir Alexei, along with four of their servants were also killed, burned, and thrown into a pit during the early hours of July 17, 1918.

The latest results from the genetic tests will take the Romanov family one step closer to being buried with full-service rites by the Russian Orthodox Church, which canonized all seven family members as passion bearers for their devotion to the faith.

Remains Of The Romanov Family Authenticated By DNA Tests

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for looking into heinous crimes, revealed that the latest round of DNA testing confirmed the authenticity of the imperial family's remains.

The tests were ordered by the Orthodox Church after disputing the results of the previous testing done in 2015 where the clergy said they felt sidelined.

The investigations also included exhuming the remains of Nicholas's father Alexander III, who himself was assassinated in 1881. This was to confirm that both remains belonged to father and son.

Vladimir Legoida, the spokesperson for the Church, said they will consider the results of the latest tests. He also praised the manner in which the investigation is being conducted.

Confusion From The Orthodox Church

President Boris Yeltsin ordered the bodies of Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra to be exhumed from their resting place at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg to undergo testing in 2015.

Tests done by international and Russian experts on the skulls of both remains confirmed the bodies were authentic. Further testing showed DNA and blood taken from the bones of Nicholas matched DNA found on a shirt worn during an earlier assassination attempt.

Alexandra's DNA also matched DNA extracted from descendants of Queen Victoria of England, the tsarina's grandmother.

The Orthodox Church declared the last of the Romanovs holy martyrs, which would make their bones sacred relics.

What Happened To The Romanovs?

Nicholas II was the last emperor of Russia before he abdicated following the revolution of 1917. Historians say he was a weak ruler because he failed to thwart the Bolshevik uprising that led to the death of millions of Russians.

Following his abdication, the Romanov family was taken to prison by the Bolshevik-run government inside the 2-story Ipatiev House in the Urals city of Sverdlovsk, now the provincial city of Yekaterinburg.

On the first hours of July 17, 1918, the Bolshevik guards ordered the Romanovs' physician Eugene Botkin to awaken the family and have them get dressed on the pretext that they were being transferred to a safer location.

They were then ushered into a basement room where Yurovsky read the execution order, giving the family only a few seconds to react before shooting Nicholas in the torso several times. The last emperor died in an instant, followed by the shooting of his wife in the head, and that of the children and servants.

The bodies were then stripped, sprinkled with sulfur to burn the remains beyond recognition, and buried but were later transferred to a pit dug up on Koptyaki Road. The remains of two of the children were placed at a different site in an attempt to confuse anyone who might stumble upon the mass grave.

Amateur historian Alexander Avdonin discovered the remains at the main gravesite in 1979, although, the discovery was only published in 1991. The bones of the tsar and tsarina were interred at Saint Petersburg in 1998 along with that of Anastasia, Olga, and Tatiana.

The remains of Alexei and Maria were discovered much later in 2007, which remain unburied to date.

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