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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grand Duke Exhumed for DNA Testing

ST. PETERSBURG -- Officials have exhumed the body of a member of the Russian royal family in a bid to identify conclusively remains believed to be those of Russia's last tsar, officials said Wednesday.


The body of Grand Duke George, who died in 1898, will undergo tests to compare his genes with those of bodies found near Yekaterinburg, where the tsar and his family were shot dead by communists in 1918.


The Grand Duke was buried in St. Petersburg's Peter and Paul Fortress, the final resting place of all Russian tsars since Peter the Great founded the city on the Neva.


"There are still some doubts about the authenticity of the remains," the fortress' director Natalya Dementyeva said. "We hope to clear these up."


Nikolai II, the last of the Romanov dynasty, abdicated after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.


He, his wife, their crippled son and three daughters were executed the following year. Medical tests in Britain provided some evidence that the bodies recovered from a pit outside Yekaterinburg were those of the royal family.