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Russia Reopens Romanov Family Murder Case

The Romanovs: Olga (left to right), Maria, Nicholas II, Aleksandra, Anastasia, Aleksei, and Tatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913

Russian investigators have exhumed the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Aleksandra as part of a new probe into the 1918 slaying of the Romanov family.

An investigator involved in the probe, Vladimir Solovyov, said the September 23 exhumation in a St. Petersburg cathedral included "taking samples from Nicholas II, from the empress, and from the uniform of Tsar Alexander II," the last tsar's grandfather, who was himself assassinated in 1881.

The Investigative Committee says new checks are needed in order to verify the remains of Romanov family members.

The Romanovs were ousted from power in 1917. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, their four daughters -- Grand Duchesses Anastasia, Maria, Olga, and Tatiana -- and their son, the Tsarevich Aleksei, were murdered in Yekaterinburg in the Urals region in 1918.

The remains of the royal couple and three daughters were found in a mass grave in 1993 and reburied at St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral in St. Petersburg..

The remains of Aleksei and Maria, which were found in 2007 at a different location, are kept at the Russian State Archive.

Russia wants to bury all seven family members together, but the Russian Orthodox Church, which canonized the Romanov family in 2000, has voiced concerns over whether the remains are really those of the royal family and has pressed for the case to be reopened.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax