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Monday, July 28, 2008

DoD Lab Helps to Resolve Century-Old Russian Mystery

Over the years our military expertise has contributed much to civilian society.

Since the massacre in 1918 of Nicholas II and his family in Russia, many mysteries has continued as to who - exactly - was murdered then. Courtesy of the Defence Dept DNA identification lab, comes the following:

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2008 – A Defense Department DNA identification lab has helped bring to a close a near-century-old mystery, laying to rest a search for the remains of two children executed alongside the rest of the family of Russia’s last czar.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
This male leg bone sample found in a small grave in Russia positively identified the remains there as the only son of the last czar of Russia, eliminating rumors that some escaped the family’s execution in 1918. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

In the midst of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, the imprisoned Nicholas II, his wife and five children were shot and killed along with four loyal servants in the basement of a merchant’s house. The ruling Bolshevik party eventually would become the communist party of the Soviet Union.

What happened to the bodies remained somewhat of a mystery for years. Rumors circulated of survivors of the execution. Hundreds came forward over time claiming to be a surviving member of the royal family. The most prominent was Anna Anderson in 1920, who claimed to be the czar's youngest daughter, Anastasia.

More than a decade ago, the Russian government asked the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab in Rockville, Md., to use its cutting-edge technology in DNA testing to help confirm the identify the royal family’s remains after a mass grave was discovered. The lab positively identified the remains of the czar, his wife and three daughters, and later disproved Anderson’s claims of royal heritage....

I found this a fascinating insight, not only into the Russian mysteries, but also the inner workings of the DoD. Go read the rest of this here.