Sputniknews – 1/3/2020
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Scientists from Russia and the United States plan to resume the search for the remains of the Grand Duke Michael Romanov and his secretary Nicholas Johnson killed in 1918 by Bolsheviks near the Russian city of Perm, the group leader Peter Sarandinaki said.
“Our team from Necrosearch International and the S.E.A.R.C.H. Foundation is planning to go back to Perm this summer to continue the search for the remains of the Grand Duke Mikhail and his secretary Nicholas Johnson,” Sarandinaki said.
Mikhail Romanov, the youngest brother of Emperor Nicholas II, was de jure the last Russian tzar. On 2 March 1917, Nicholas II abdicated in favor of his son Alexey and then – on behalf of him – in favor of Mikhail. The next day, Mikhail Romanov transferred power to Russia’s Constituent Assembly and then went on to reside in Gatchina near Saint Petersburg until the Bolsheviks deported him to Perm. Nicholas Johnson decided to join Mikhail Romanov in Perm.
On 13 June 1918 both Romanov and Johnson were captured by the group of “chekists” – Soviet secret service agents – who killed them in an unidentified location.
Sarandinaki, a US citizen of Russian ancestry, noted that this time researchers will continue working on “two very good clues” they found during their previous expeditions.
Based on killers’ reports, they were able to locate a kilometer-long and a few hundred meters wide area where the bodies can be buried with the utmost probability.
“We still have a lot of territory to cover,” he said. “We have to search systematically.”
Sarandinaki said his team now has support from big Russian corporations, but avoided to specify their names. He also said the Russian Orthodox Church supports the work and helps where they are able.
Using special equipment, scientists, including archeologists from the Russian cities of Gatchina and Azov, look for changes in soil composition.
“When we find anomalies, we mark them and then we continue to work with them. We have to be very careful,” Sarandinaki said.
US experts bring their search tools, some of them are unique for Russia.
“We share our methods with Russian colleagues. We have very fruitful exchange of views, which may be helpful in the future,” Sarandinaki added.
He acknowledged that local residents are very interested in searches and try to help out as possible.
“People see that something good is happening and they want to be a part of the history,” he said.