St. Petersburg, July 2, 2012
Money for the work will be provided by the State Historical Museum of St. Petersburg.
DNA testing will also be financed in order to identify the discovered remains. The goal is to find and identify all the victims of the mass repression that took place in the former Russian capital during the years just after the Bolshevik revolution. The victims’ remains will then be given over to the earth with a solemn burial service.
In 2009, during construction work on Zayachy Island, the buried remains of prisoners executed by the Cheka from 1917–1921 were discovered. Among those who were innocently put to death in 1919 were Grand Princes Pavel Alexandrovich, Dimitry Constantinovich, Nicholas and George Mikhailovich (three of whom were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad in 1981). The excavation continued through the summer of 2010, and the remains of over 100 people were exhumed. Tsarist Army officer’s caps were found, along with boots, sailor’s ribbons, baptismal crosses, medals, miniature icons, and fragments of soldier’s blouses and jackets.
Now that financing has again been found, another 1700 square meters have yet to be excavated in addition to the 1000 completed in 2010.