Bolshevik-era mass graves uncovered in Saint Petersburg

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Archeologists have uncovered the site of Bolshevik-era executions and mass graves at Saint Petersburg's Peter and Paul Fortress, a museum spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The remains of over 80 bodies were found shot through the head in six mass graves dating to after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 when archeological digs began this summer amid restoration work, spokesman Dmitry Masliakov said.

"Six mass graves with the remains of over 80 bodies were found by archeologists during a dig on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress since June," he told AFP.

It was not immediately clear when the victims had lost their lives.

The Peter and Paul Fortress was an infamous political prison in Tsarist times and its Cathedral is the final resting place of the Romanov royal family.

It then became the first prison used by the Bolshevik regime and the site of mass executions by the Cheka secret police during the reign of "Red Terror" after the Russian Civil War.

Historians have long suspected it of being the site of mass graves. The fortress is today also one of the city's leading tourist attractions.

© 2010 AFP

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