Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 8

Nemtsov told Yeltsin yesterday that the government commission charged with identifying the remains of the imperial family will complete its task on January 27, and that there is now no doubt at all that the remains discovered in 1979 are those of Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, and his family. (RIA Novosti, January 13) The royal family was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 in Yekaterinburg. Tests by Russian and western experts have matched DNA from the remains with those of relatives of the royal family living abroad. The way is now open, Nemtsov said, for the bodies finally to be laid to rest. He said it is up to Yeltsin to decide where they should be buried, and recommended that the ceremony be held this year. (NTV, January 12)

This outcome is ironic. It was Yeltsin who, as Communist Party leader of Sverdlovsk Oblast, in September 1977, ordered that the Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg where the royal family was murdered ("the house of special purpose") be razed to the ground. Yeltsin took the decision because the house was becoming a place of pilgrimage for Russian Orthodox believers, who regard the last czar as a martyr or even a saint. A tiny, makeshift chapel has now been erected on the wasteland where the house used to stand. (For photographs, see Itogi, December 2, 1997) Yeltsin will face a tough choice in deciding the fate of the remains. Moscow and St. Petersburg have both laid claim, while the independent-minded governor of Sverdlovsk Oblast is insisting that the remains be buried there. He has one advantage: the bones were returned to Yekaterinburg on January 7 by special train.

Russian Tax Service Introduces "Tax Partnerships."