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The Body of Tsar Nicholas II Has Been Found

The Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office reopened its criminal investigation into the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in Yekaterinburg in 1918. In a press release, the investigators said that seven of 11 remains found in burial pits had been confirmed as belonging to members of the Romanov family. These include Nicholas and his wife Alexandra, their daughters Olga, Tatiana, Anastasia, and their son Alexei. They also had the bodies of a servant and a doctor.

The word tsar, or czar (in Russian ар), derives from the Latin caesar, meaning emperor; European rulers applied the title to Slavic monarchs and later came to refer to their system of government, known as tsarism. The Roman word also gave rise to the English words tsarina, or czarina, for the wives and daughters of tsars, as well as the term tsarevich, or heir apparent, for an heir of a monarch.

Almost 100 years ago, in the spring of 1918, the Bolsheviks forced the Tsar and his family into the basement of a merchant’s house in Yekaterinburg. They murdered them with rifle fire, then burned and buried them in shallow graves. Their fate was kept secret by the Soviet authorities, and for decades, many people, including members of the Tsar’s family, believed that one or more members of the family had survived and were hiding somewhere.