The Romanov family hasn’t rested easy since Russia’s last tsar, his wife, and their five children were gunned down in 1918 amid the chaos of the Bolshevik revolution.
And now, Russia’s official investigative body is re-opening the century-old case of the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.
Their remains were discovered in a mass grave in 1991 and ceremonially reburied in St. Petersburg’s Peter and Paul Cathedral. But the Russian Orthodox Church disputes forensic evidence that those bones—and those of two children found in a separate grave—in fact belong to the Romanovs.
The church has refused permission to bury siblings Alexei and Maria with the rest of the family in the cathedral. Their remains are in an office in the Russian State Archives.
In an attempt to lay the matter to rest, Russia has exhumed the Romanovs’ bodies for further testing. It will also reexamine documents relating to the early investigation of their execution that concluded in 1924.
Rarely spoken of during the era of the Soviet Union, the Romanovs are enjoying a historic reappraisal.
“At present Russia is undergoing a complicated process of regaining its glory and worldwide influence. I am sure that in this historical moment the Romanovs would not stay away from all the processes that are taking place in Russia,” a Russian MP said in June while proposing a law to grant the family’s surviving heirs special status.