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Russian Orthodox Church still doubts authenticity of "Yekaterinburg remains"

MOSCOW. July 17 (Interfax) - The Russian Orthodox Church still doubts the authenticity of the remains found near Yekaterinburg five years ago. Experts believe these are the remains of Russia's last emperor Nicholas II and his family.

"The attitude to the remains has not changed, because no new information has been obtained," head of the Synod Commission on Canonization Metropolitan Yuvenaly told Interfax on Thursday.

The Metropolitan said he knew nothing about any serious research to prove the remains' authenticity. "Apparently, the attention of the scientific community and the government to the problem has declined now that the remains are buried," he said.

The church is still ready to reconsider the authenticity of the "Yekaterinburg remains" in case of further studies, he stressed.

The Bolsheviks shot Nicholas II and members of his family and circle in the Ipatyev House near Yekaterinburg in 1918. Human remains were found on the outskirts of the city, which experts identified as the Romanovs.

The remains were buried in the Czarist burial vault of the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on July 17, 1998, in the presence of Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin, statesmen and descendants of the Romanovs.

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II did not take part in the ceremony, because the Russian Orthodox Church doubted the authenticity of the Yekaterinburg remains.

Several years later, these doubts were confirmed by Japanese scientists, who analyzed a drop of sweat found on the clothes of Nicholas II, and hair, nails and bone fragments of his brother, Prince Georgy.

They also studied samples of blood of Tikhon Kulikovsky-Romanov, son of Princess Olga - the youngest sister of the last emperor, who died in 1993.

Results of the tests were compared with DNA from the Yekaterinburg remains and failed to match its genetic characteristics.

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