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Heirs Of Russia’s Last Czar Enter Dispute Over Reburial

Mon., Dec. 1, 1997

The heirs of Russia’s imperial family have stepped into the latest conflict over where to rebury Russia’s last czar, insisting Nicholas II should be interred where he wanted to be - in a royal vault in St. Petersburg.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova, whose father was a first cousin of the czar, wrote to President Boris Yeltsin this month emphasizing the family’s desire that Nicholas’ wishes be respected.

“My only desire is to follow the will of the royal family, who earned that through their great love for Russia, their suffering and martyrdom,” she wrote in the letter, whose text was published Saturday in the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and their five children were killed by a Bolshevik firing squad July 17, 1918, in Yekaterinburg, about 900 miles east of Moscow.

Remains later identified as belonging to the royal family were recovered in 1991. The governor of the Yekaterinburg region has refused to allow the bones to leave the area, arguing they should be buried in the city where they died.

The remains of the czar’s son and heir, Alexei, and one daughter, probably Maria or Anastasia, have not been recovered.

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