Russians Get New, Fond Glimpse of the Last Czar

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The black-and-white photographs are ordinary enough: Czar Nicholas II, his wife and their five children relax in the countryside. His wife, Alexandra, mingles with patients in a hospital. Their son, Crown Prince Aleksei, poses in a traditional Russian sailor suit.

But to many of the Russians who visited the new “Crown of the Czar” exhibition in Moscow last week, these pictures of the royal family were breathtaking. Older people who grew up versed in the canon of Marx and Lenin seemed particularly grateful to see documents and other items that had been locked away in archives for so many decades.

“We know very little about this period,” said Vera Milkhina, 66. “I didn’t study this kind of history — only political science and the history of the Communist Party.”

The exhibition’s popularity underscores a nationwide renewal of interest, and even affection, for the imperial family.

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