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Ex-Royal Family Seeks Czar’s Exoneration

December 20, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) _ Members of Russia’s former royal family have asked the government to officially exonerate Czar Nicholas II, his wife, children and other relatives executed by the Bolsheviks after the Russian revolution.

The family filed the necessary documents with the government’s commission for rehabilitation of Soviet-era political repression victims, said Alexander Zakatov, a representative of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova.

The government ``should denounce lawlessness committed against its citizens, regardless of whether they were members of the imperial house or simple people,″ Zakatov said Friday, adding that by not acting the state would ``justify the crimes that were committed in 1918.″

A commission spokesman refused to comment on the royal request.

Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children were killed by a firing squad on July 17, 1918, in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg. Most of the bodies were burned, doused with acid, and thrown into a pit outside the city.

Their remains were exhumed in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. After years of genetic tests and disputes about their authenticity, they were buried in 1998 in the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg.

The royal family is seeking only to clear its name, Zakatov said, and will not demand financial restitution or promote restoration of the monarchy.

The family waited more than a decade to start the process because it took years to acquire death certificates for Nicholas II, his wife, four daughters and son _ a requirement for filing the papers, said German Lyukanov, another royal representative.

Also on the list submitted to the government are the czar’s brother Grand Prince Mikhail Alexandrovich, his sister-in-law Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna, an uncle and three cousins. All were killed in 1918, part of the Bolshevik campaign against the royal family, Zakatov said.

Today, family members are scattered across the globe. But many are taking a more active role in Russian society, having made some 40 visits to Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said.

The Russian Prosecutor-General’s office in 1999 cleared the names of four Romanovs _ including three of the czar’s nephews _ who were declared enemies of the state and executed by the Bolsheviks. Zakatov said he hoped the government would exonerate the czar and his immediate family as well, in the interest of ``historical fairness and legal fairness.″

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