Last tsar is set to get his day in court after 90 years

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RUSSIA took a step closer to rehabilitating its Royal Family yesterday after prosecutors were ordered to review the murder of Tsar Nicholas II.

A court in Moscow granted an appeal by a descendant of the Romanov dynasty against a refusal to declare the Royal Family victims of political repression.

Tverskoi district court ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office to reconsider the case, ruling that its rejection of an application to exonerate the Tsar was illegal. The appeal was brought by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who lives in Spain and whose claim to be the Tsar’s legal heir is disputed by other members of the Romanov family.

The court had upheld the official view that the execution of Nicholas II and his family in 1918 was unauthorised rather than an act of state policy. Moscow’s highest court later ordered a fresh hearing after representatives of the Grand Duchess unearthed documents that they claimed showed that the Bolshevik regime had sanctioned the killings.

Boris Yeltsin, then the President. described the deaths as “a monstrous crime” when the Romanovs’ remains were reburied in St Petersburg in 1998, in what he said was an act of atonement for Russians’ shared guilt. The country’s judicial system has never acknowledged that a political crime took place, which would open the door to rehabilitation under legislation to clear the names of victims of Soviet repression.

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