Russia hands last tsar's murder files to descendant
Russia on Thursday for the first time handed over case files from the investigation into the murder of the last tsar's family to his descendant in an attempt to end a long-running dispute.
A Russian investigator handed over an 800-page ruling explaining a decision to finally close the murder investigation earlier this year, on the grounds that too much time had passed and all the perpetrators were dead,
In 1918, the last Tsar Nicolas II and his wife, five children and entourage were shot in a cellar in the Sverdlovsk region in the Urals mountains, where the Bolshevik authorities had sent them into exile.
Senior investigator Vladimir Solovyov, who has worked on the case since 1993, handed three volumes of documents to the lawyer representing Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the disputed claimant to head the imperial dynasty.
"The case file is 28 volumes. I think that if there is a necessity or questions arise, the Grand Duchess can acquaint herself with the documents," Solovyov said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
Investigators said when they closed the case for the last time in January this year that they could not find direct proof that Lenin or the Kremlin ordered the murder.
"The shooting was carried out on the orders of the presidium of the Urals regional soviet," Solovyov said Thursday, quoted by Interfax.
The Romanov descendants had won a legal case, forcing Russia to hand over a copy of the ruling, after an initial refusal.
The descendants of the Romanovs had earlier ordered the reopening of the case because they want the murdered royals to be recognised as the victims of government-endorsed killing.
In a deeply emotional conflict, the Russian Orthodox Church has also refused to recognise the identification of the most recently discovered remains of the heir Alexei and his sister Maria, found in 2007.
Russia's Investigative Committee issued a statement identifying the remains in January.
The last tsar and his family members were canonized by the Church in 2000 and the Church has to recognise the other remains as holy relics in a special procedure.
The Romanov descendants have agreed with the Church's decision.
"So far the Church has not found enough basis to recognise these remains as the those of the tsar's family," Romanov representative Alexander Zakatov said, quoted by Interfax.
© 2011 AFP