The last czar and his murdered family were victims of political repression, a Russian Supreme Court appeals panel declared today.
It is a decision that helps Russia move toward closing a chapter in its tortured history.
The decision ends years of efforts by Czar Nicholas II’s descendants to get authorities to reclassify the killings, which had long been considered simply murder.
Prosecutors and lower courts repeatedly rejected the appeals, saying the royal Romanov family were murdered, not executed for political reasons.
But Pavel Odintsov, a spokesman for the court, said a panel accepted the appeals of the Romanov descendants to “rehabilitate” them today.
Nicholas II abdicated in 1917 as revolutionary fervour swept Russia, and he and his family were detained.
The czar, his wife Alexandra and their son and four daughters were shot dead on July 17, 1918, in a basement room of a merchant’s house where they were held in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.
The house was demolished in 1977 on the orders of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who was Communist Party chief of the region at the time.