The government commission charged with determining the authenticity of the remains of Russia’s last czar and his family holds its final meeting today in Moscow. The commission is said to be satisfied that the bones discovered in Sverdlovsk Oblast in 1979 are indeed those of Nicholas II and his family. According to some reports, President Boris Yeltsin will today decide where the imperial remains will be buried. Fierce competition has been going on for some time among St. Petersburg, Moscow and Yekaterinburg (where the bones are at present).
Appearing last night on national television, the governor of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Yakovlev, staked his city’s claim. (NTV, January 29) He pointed out that the imperial family was living in St. Petersburg at the time of their arrest by the Bolsheviks. He said further that city officials have already drawn up elaborate plans complete with full military honors for bringing the imperial remains to the city and burying them at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Asked whether he would also like to see Lenin buried in St. Petersburg alongside the body of his mother, Yakovlev was more cautious. Lenin, he conceded, was in many ways a great man and deserved a fitting burial, but whether this should be in St. Petersburg or his native Simbirsk (renamed Ulyanovsk in Lenin’s honor) "or some other place," Yakovlev was not prepared to say. Doubtless he was mindful that St. Petersburg is home to a large number of far-left Communist splinter groups, including the one led by the notorious Nina Andreeva. The Moscow Patriarchate is deliberating whether to follow the example of the Russian Orthodox church in exile and declare Nicholas II a saint. Yakovlev probably feels that one center of pilgrimage is enough, even for a city of the size of St. Petersburg.
Russian Defense Chief Winds Up Talks in Bonn.