Quest continues for grandma’s identityBy Caty Petersen
Philippine Daily Inquirer
This is my response to a short article that appeared in the May 16 issue of the Inquirer, regarding DNA tests done on the Romanovs, which supposedly “closed the case.”
Just two points of clarification:
1) In the article I wrote (May 13, Page A1), nowhere did I make the claim that my grandmother was Anastasia Romanov. Last Sunday’s catchy headline, “Filipino’s Grandmama could be Russia’s Anastasia,” was purely an editorial decision, and the paper’s prerogative, over which I had no participation. Having said that, however, let me point out that the headline used the word “could,” expressing a possibility, not a certainty.
2) There appear to be other opinions which suggest that the case is not quite closed.
Although impressive and accepted by a number of people, there are many other experts and institutions that believe the 2009 DNA test results are not conclusive.
In fact, to this date, the case concerning the authenticity of the remains discovered in 1978 and 2007 is hardly closed.
Provenance of bones
Questions concerning the provenance of the bones, claimed to be the remains of the Imperial Family (discovered in 1978, but reopened and exhumed only in 1991), have been raised. Details regarding the chain of custody of the remains in question were never provided. Hence, impartial experts involved deem the DNA analysis to be inconclusive.
Both the House of Romanov (the Imperial House of Russia) and the powerful Russian Orthodox Church still refuse to recognize the remains as those of the Romanovs.
During the 1998 funeral in St. Petersburg, the late Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexy II (the equivalent of the Catholics’ Pope), who refused to attend, ordered the officiating priest to simply refer to the bones being buried as “Christian victims of the revolution whose names are unknown.”
Rev. Gennady Belovolov, 53, a prominent clergyman within the Russian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg, says, “As for the bones of Maria and Alexei discovered in 2007, there are researchers who show completely different results. The church would be happy with only 100-percent certainty, nothing less.”
Prince Georgy Mikhailovich, the son of the Romanovs’ House head, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, issued this statement on Feb. 24, 2010: “Unfortunately, there is too much confusion in this case and some serious errors were made when the Yekaterinburg remains were being identified. No satisfactory answers have been provided to the 10 questions, formulated by independent scholars and referred to the Commission back in 1998 by the late Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II. Those are questions which interested not only experts, but also people and millions of believers.”
Only last March 27, the House of Romanov said that the central question—whether the Yekaterinburg remains were authentic—has not been answered. “We did not find anything that would change our opinion concerning the authenticity of the Yekaterinburg remains,” their spokesperson Alexander Zakatov said.
I merely point these out to remind readers that there are always several sides to a story. My grandmother’s will undoubtedly stir debate because it touches on a powerful and emotional time in Russian history. Be that as it may, I shall keep an open and objective mind as I continue to gather data about my Grandmama Tasia, her life and the times she lived in.
I welcome readers’ comments (of which there has been an avalanche) and sincerely appreciate the overwhelming support expressed by so many for my quest and my family. I know that every good wish that comes our way is bringing her closer to the peace she so deserves.
Interested readers may wish to check the following sources for more information about the Romanovs: Smithsonian Magazine, NY Times, PBS, Time, Imperial House of Russia, Interfax, Russkiy Mir Foundation, Royal Russia News, “The Secret Plot to Save the Tsar” by Shay McNeal.