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City news, 28.09.2006 13:54

Russia reburies empress in imperial crypt

burrial The mother of Russia's last tsar, forced into exile by the Bolshevik revolution, was to be laid to rest next to her family on Thursday, as Russia tries to make peace with its dark past.

Empress Maria Fyodorovna fled Russia after her son, Czar Nicholas II, was murdered by a Bolshevik firing squad. Eighty seven years on, she is to be reburied in the imperial crypt beside her son and husband in accordance with her final wishes.

"Historical justice is being restored," said Tatyana Larina, curator of an exhibition on Maria Fyodorovna in Russia's former imperial capital, St Petersburg.

The return of the Empress's remains from Denmark was a personal initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former Soviet spy who has revived some of Russia's old imperial grandeur to symbolize his country's revival.

An honor guard of soldiers from Russia and Maria Fyodorovna's native Denmark will lower her coffin into the crypt at St Petersburg's St Peter and Paul Cathedral in a ceremony overseen by Russian Orthodox patriarch Alexy II.

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(c) 2000