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Saturday, February 28, 1998 Published at 12:08 GMT

World: Europe

Russia to rebury Tsar Nicholas
image: [ The remains have been examined by international scientists. ]
The remains have been examined by international scientists.

BBC Moscow correspondent Andrew Harding reports on the controversy of the Czar remains (2'17")
The Russian Government has decided to rebury the remains of the country's last Tsar, Nicholas the Second, and his family.

The burial will take place July 18, in the former imperial capital, St Petersburg. The date marks the 80th anniversary of the Tsar's execution.

The remains will be put in the Saint Catherine Cathedral inside the Peter and Paul fortress, the traditional resting place of the Romanov dynasty since Peter the Great.

[ image: St Petersburg: the traditional resting place of the Czars]
St Petersburg: the traditional resting place of the Czars
One of the Russian deputy prime ministers, Boris Nemtsov, announced the decision after a meeting of top Kremlin officials.

The decision overides the views of the Russian Orthodox Church which still has doubts about the authenticity of the remains. These were unearthed from a shallow grave on the outskirts of the city of Yekaterinburg in 1991.

The nine skeletons were subjected to exhaustive scientific analysis. Separate tests were undertaken by Russian, British and American scientists. They all confirmed the remains were genuine, and a government commission made a formal ruling last month.

Although the church continues to have doubts about the identification of the bones, it has agreed to take part in the burial.

Nicholas as saint

[ image: The church is not convinced the remains are genuine.]
The church is not convinced the remains are genuine.
Authenticity is crucial to church leaders who are considering Nicholas II and his family for sainthood.

If they proceed on that course it would require the exhumation of the remains at a later date for public veneration.

This would be very expensive and possibly embarrassing.

Tsar Nicholas II was executed on July 17, 1918, along with his family and servants in the Ural Mountains' city of Yekaterinburg.

They were shot by a Bolshevik firing squad more than a year after the Russian Revolution forced Nicholas to abdicate.

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