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Friday, July 17, 1998 Published at 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK

Yeltsin calls Tsar's murder shameful (full text)

Priests bless the coffins during the service

President Yeltsin has said the reburial of the remains of the executed Romanov family was an act of atonement. "We are all guilty", he told the funeral ceremony in St Petersburg's Peter and Paul Cathedral. Here is the text of his speech, which was broadcast live on Russia TV:

President Yeltsin (in Russian) speaks about the implications of the Romanov executions
Esteemed fellow Russians! Today is an historic day for Russia.

Eighty years have passed since the day of the murder of the last Russian emperor and members of his family.

For many years we kept quiet about this monstrous crime, but the truth has to be spoken.
[ image: President Yeltsin:
President Yeltsin: "A historic day for Russia"

The execution in Yekaterinburg became one of the most shameful pages in our history.

By committing to the ground the remains of the innocent victims, we want to atone for the sins of our forefathers.

It is those who committed this evil and those who justified it for decades who are guilty. We are all guilty.

We cannot lie to ourselves, explaining the senseless cruelty by political goals.

The execution of the Romanov family is the result of an irreconcilable split in Russian society between ours and theirs .

Its consequences are being felt even now.

The funeral of the remains of the victims of the Yekaterinburg tragedy is first and foremost an act of human justice.

It symbolizes the unity of the people and atonement for the common guilt.

We all have an obligation before the historical memory of the people, and for that reason I couldn't fail to come here today.

As a human being and as a president I have to be here.

I bow to the victims of the merciless murder.

While building a new Russia, we must look for support to its historical experience.

Many glorious pages of the history of our country are linked with the Romanovs. But one of its most bitter lessons is linked to this name - any attempts to change life by means of violence are doomed.

We are obliged to complete the century which for Russia became a century of blood and lawlessness, repentance and reconciliation, irrespective of political views, religion and nationality.

This is our historic chance.

On the threshold of the third millennium, we have to do this in the name of current and future generations.

Let us remember those who became innocent victims of hatred and violence.

May they rest in peace.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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