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Russia to exhume remains of last tsar

The remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife are to be exhumed to determine whether body parts unearthed eight years ago are those of two of their children, Russia's Investigative Committee says.

Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and their five children were executed in 1918 as White Army forces closed in on the Bolsheviks holding them prisoner.

Remains identified as the parents and three children were interred in 1998. Body parts identified as those of Tsarevich Alexei and his sister were found in 2007. Russia had announced burial plans this month, but the Russian Orthodox Church called for further investigation.

The church has canonised the family and worshipping false relics would be sacrilege. It does not consider the other remains authentic.

Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin announced the exhumation plan today.

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