The Historic Rehabilitation of the Last Russian Tsar - When a Nation Repents Publicly

Originally appeared at: tsarnicholas.org

In December 2005, Princess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova [who lives in Madrid, Spain] sent an application to the Russian Prosecutor’s Office with a request for the rehabilitation of the murdered ex-emperor Nicholas II and members of his family as victims of political repression.

On 1st October 2008, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation granted the judicial rehabilitation of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Ninety years after a Bolshevik execution squad gunned down the last Tsar and his family, the country’s supreme court declared the Imperial family as “victims of political repression.” The regicide was condemned, and that the false accusations against the Tsar, that he was an enemy of the people…were at long last proven to be false.

By finding the Tsar a victim of political terror, the court has completed the remarkable transformation of the discredited man who died with his family in the cellar of the Ipatiev House in the early hours of 17th July, 1918 on the orders of the Ural Soviet.

Throughout the years of the Soviet Union, government propaganda vilified the last Tsar, giving him the derogatory nickname “Bloody Nicholas” and accusing him and his family of a litany of crimes.

It is important to note, that the Supreme Court’s decision overturned a ruling by the same court in November 2007 that the killings did not qualify as political repression, but premeditated murder. The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation, stated in court that “the requirements for rehabilitation do not comply with the provisions of the law due to the fact that these persons were not arrested for political reasons, and no court decision on execution was made.”

Four weeks later, on 30th October 2008, it was reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation ruled to rehabilitate 52 people from the entourage of Emperor Nicholas II and his family.

Some readers will argue that it was unneccessary because the Tsar had not committed any crime, which of course is true! For the sake of historical justice, however, it was the responsibility of a post-Soviet Court to overturn the Bolshevik’s decision to condemn and justify the murder of Russia’s last Tsar. In addition, his rehabilitation defeats the myths and lies of both the Bolshevik and Soviet regimes.

Up until the Supreme Court’s ruling, Nicholas II remained falsely accused of crimes in which he did not commit. According to the existing code of laws, the Russian Federation is the lawful successor of Soviet Russia and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]. From the purely juridical stand­point, all the criminal charges, incriminations and verdicts of repression pronounced since 7th November 1917 continue to carry legal authority until the government officially rehabilitates the victims. A paradoxical situation thus occurred, where the head of the Russian government has offered up repentance for the bloody violence carried out by representatives of the government on members of the Imperial House and their servants, relatives and friends; where the immediate members of the family of Emperor Nicholas II along with Grand-Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna have been recognized as saints by the Russian Orthodox Church; yet where, from the judicial point of view, they can legally be considered “criminals,” since they were executed as “enemies” of the government.

Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that Nicholas II, was unlawfully killed by Bolshevik authorities. The ruling negates the Bolshevik claims used to instigate the 1917 revolution, and the murder of the Tsar and his family the following year. His rehabilitation reinstates the good name of Nicholas Alexandrovich Romanov, and to legally declare that he was innocent and had suffered unjustly.

Georgy Ryabykh, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said the “decision can only be welcomed. It strengthens the rule of law, restores historical continuity and 1,000 years of state tradition”.

Ivan Artsishevsky (1950-2021), Director of the Romanov Family Association also praised the ruling: “the fact that the Russian state took responsibility for that murder is a step towards repentance … and the rehabilitation of all innocent (Bolshevik) victims.”

It should come as no surprise that the rehabilitation was denounced by the Communists, who said it was “cynical” and would “sooner or later be corrected.” In response, German Lukyanov noted that the ruling was “a final decision that cannot be challenged.” 

“Rehabilitation is necessary for the modern state, so that the image of Russia throughout the world is associated not with basements covered in blood, but with the image of a civilized state that has renounced the Soviet past and condemned it,” he added.

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