Install

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

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Promised Tsar Burial Will Wait a Year

ST. PETERSBURG -- Plans to bury the remains of the last Russian royal family have been postponed, with observers predicting that the event will not take place until 1997.


"Nothing is going to happen this year," said Natalya Dementyeva, director of the State History Museum at the Peter and Paul Fortress, where the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family were tentatively scheduled to be laid to rest Sunday.


"The decision must be made by the Duma and the president. We just elected a new Duma and we may elect a new president after June. By the time everything gets done, it will be 1997," she said.


Discovered in 1991 in Yekaterinburg, the remains of Nicholas, Alexandra, three of their five children, and three household servants have undergone a series of tests designed to identify them. In September, scientists who performed the last round of DNA analysis announced they had positively identified the remains as those of the royal family.


The Romanovs were executed in July 1918 by the Bolsheviks who feared the family would become a rallying point for opposition forces.


This is the second time the reburial has been postponed. Officials originally hoped to hold the ceremony last March but it was delayed pending final test results.


"The problem this year," Dementyeva said, "was one of priorities.


"With a war in Chechnya and the elections, no one has time to think about the burial," she said.


In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church, which must give its approval for the burial, has expressed doubts about the test results, as have some remaining members of the Romanov family.


Although most officials agreed the final burial site would be the Peter and Paul Fortress, where all the tsars since Peter I are buried, Yekaterinburg authorities have been scrambling for the rights to bury the remains in the city where they have lain since 1918.


A spokesman for Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, who served on the Moscow-based advisory commission, said it was disappointing that the burial was put off again.


"The city would have been all ready, but decisions have to be made by the federal government," he said.