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Russia Closes Investigation Into Tsar Nicholas Murder

Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Investigators have closed an investigation into the shooting by Bolshevik revolutionaries of Russia's last Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918, ITAR-TAS news agency reported.

Launched after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the investigation was broadly viewed as a review of the country's communist past -- considered by some as 70 years of national glory and others as a bloody nightmare.

"Today I signed an order to close this criminal case," ITAR-TASS quoted investigator Vladimir Solovyov, who has conducted the inquiry for 15 years as saying.

"We have no information which would suggest that those were not the royal family," he said of the bodies of the tsar, his wife, and three of his children.

A group of Bolsheviks dumped their bodies in a pit near the house in the town of Yekaterinburg in the Urals where they had shot the family during a civil war between supporters of the emperor and revolutionaries who supported Vladimir Lenin.

"Their bodies and the cause of their death have been identified," Solovyov said.

The family was reburied in the imperial crypt of the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Officials said last year they had identified the missing remains of Nicholas II's 13-year-old heir Grand Prince Aleksei and daughter Grand Princess Maria.

Solovyov said the results of the investigation will be presented in early March at a conference but that the issue of what to do with the remains of Grand Prince Aleksei and Grand Princess Maria was still to be decided.