Foundation of Russian History Represented at the 44th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

New Orleans, LA. November 18, 2012

The 44th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies took place in New Orleans between November 15 and 18. On Sunday, November 18, the last day of the convention, Fr. Vladimir von Tsurikov, took part in a roundtable entitled “The House of Romanov in Exile: New Archival Discoveries, Concepts, and Myths”. The roundtable was chaired by Edward Kasinec (Harriman Institute, Columbia University), and included Oleg Budnitskii (National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Russia), Tanya Chebotareva (Bakhmeteff Archives, Columbia University) and Fr. Vladimir von Tsurikov (Foundation of Russian History and Holy Trinity Seminary).

In his comments, Fr. Vladimir focused on the investigations of the execution of Nicholas II and his family, and the search for their remains. His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, commented on July 26 of this about new important information that has come to light in relation to the remains of the family of Nicholas II.
After providing the historical background of the investigation of, and search for, the remains of the Royal family since 1979, Fr. Vladimir discussed the 1998 burial in the Peter and Paul fortress in St. Petersburg, the findings of the official commission headed by Boris Nemtsov, the activities of the so-called “Russian Expert Commission Abroad”, the activities of the investigator Nikolai Sokolov on behalf of the White Army, and various myths surrounding the fate of the remains of the Royal family.

Fr. Vladimir’s remarks included mention not only of official investigations, but also of the publications of Tatsuo Nagai, Alec Knight, and Lev Zhivotovsky, who disagreed with the original findings. Special attention was given to two bodies found in 2007, approximately 70 meters from the original grave site which was discovered first in 1979. These two bodies underwent extensive DNA testing, however, final agreement on the findings between scientists and representatives of the Russian Church is still outstanding.

A recent exhibit, co-organized by the Russian State Archives and Holy Trinity Seminary in May 2012 in Moscow, focused on the investigations first started by Sokolov and lasting almost a century. This exhibit reignited discussions on this topic, as well as a multitude of myths surrounding it.

The important information mentioned by Patriarch Kirill, which has recently come to light, refers to jars found in the walls of the Russian Orthodox Church in Brussels, Belgium. These jars contain fragments of the materials evidence originally collected by the investigator Sokolov. The newly discovered items may provide more information in addition to the wealth of research already available on this subject. However, archival documents show that additional material evidence originally donated to the Russian church in Brussels, is still outstanding.

Fr. Vladimir’s comments concluded with the hope that this sensational find, mentioned by Patriarch Kirill, may allow the Russian government and the Russian Church to close the book on this, hopefully, final chapter of the investigations into the remains of the Royal family.

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