09/07/2010, 00.00
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No money to identify the remains of martyrs, victims of Bolshevik terror

The remains of 80 victims of Bolshevik terror waiting to be named. The discovery took place this summer near the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. Bewteen 76 thousand and 126 thousand Euros need for identification.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - There is no money to identify the remains of victims of "bolshevik terror", among which there may be some members of the last imperial dynasty of Russia, the Romanov’s, whom the Russian Orthodox Church has canonized as martyrs. The remains of 80 people killed between 1918 and 1921, were discovered this summer during excavations in the fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg, the former prison for political opponents. Cleaned and stored in suitable containers, they are now kept in a small room, "which requires continuous ventilation," says a source in the St. Petersburg State Museum of History website Partalcredo.ru. At the moment - the source adds - "there is no money to identify the victims."

The remnants and found objects - shoes, hats, spare clothes tsarist army cadet uniform, medals and icons - are waiting to be examined by specialists and restorers. Maybe then they will be moved to some museum. Serious research is also needed, in collaboration with the Russian secret services who custody the archives of the Cheka (Bolshevik intelligence) of Petersburg, responsible for illegal executions.

Vladimir Kildiushevskij, director of the excavations and a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, estimates between EUR 126 thousand and 76 thousand the amount needed to identify the remains found. For the restoration of the statue of Lenin at Finland railway station, also in St. Petersburg, the city has spent the equivalent of 200 thousand euros.  

The authorities have decided to start the excavations this summer after about 20 skeletons of political prisoners were found in the ramparts near the fortress of Peter and Paul in December 2009 during construction of a road for a parking lot for tourist buses. It is suspected that among them there may also be some Romanov canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (Rocor) in 1981 as "new martyrs". (NA)  

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