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Nicholas II: Abdication and Execution

Discontent at home grew, the army tired of war, the food situation deteriorated, the government tottered, and in Mar., 1917, Nicholas was forced to abdicate (see Russian Revolution). He was held first in the Czarskoye Selo palace, then near Tobolsk. On July 16, 1918, the czar and his family were shot along with their remaining servants in a cellar at Yekaterinburg during the night. Their bodies were buried or burned in a nearby forest. Nicholas's vague mysticism, limited intelligence, and submission to sinister influences made him particularly unfit to cope with the events that led to his tragic end.

The remains of the czar, czarina, and three of their children, were discovered in 1979, exhumed in 1991, and reburied in St. Petersburg in 1998. In 2000 the Russian Orthodox Church canonized the czar and the members of his immediate family, but they were not recognized as victims of political repression and officially rehabilitated until 2008. The remains of the czar's two other children were discovered in 2007 and identified in 2008, but the Russian Orthodox Church's questioning of the scientific and genetic evidence has prevented their reburial with the rest of the family.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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