Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Duma Has Final Say On Fate of Royal Remains

ST. PETERSBURG -- A final decision on the burial of the remains of Tsar Nicholas II currently rests with the new Duma, expected to take up the issue when it convenes in mid-January.

"We can't make any plans yet because we have to wait until the new Duma meets," said Lyudmila Dementyeva, director of the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is vying with sites in Yekaterinburg and Moscow to become the family's last resting place.

Although teams of experts have conclusively verified the remains of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and two of the children in September found in Yekaterinburg, doubts over the identities have been raised by the church and several other organizations.

Mayor Anatoly Sobchak strongly backs a St. Petersburg burial, maintaining a tradition that began with Peter the Great.

The royal family and several of its servants were shot in Yekaterinburg July 17, 1918, by the Bolsheviks after several months of house arrest. Their remains were partially cremated, doused with acid and buried in a pit, recovered only in July 1991.

Local organizers hope to hold the ceremony Feb. 26, with a memorial service in St. Isaac's Cathedral according to tradition.