The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church is launching an investigation into whether the last Czar of Russia, Nicholas II, and his family were victims of a ritual murder carried out by angry Jews in 1918, Church leaders revealed in a statement Tuesday.
Nicholas II, his wife, and their five children were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad on July 17, 1918, less than a year after a communist revolution unseated the monarchy and launched a civil war in Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church made the Czar and his family saints in 2000.
Bishop Tikhon, an influential religious figure with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has specifically singled out Yakov Yurovsky, a Bolshevik organizer of the czar’s execution who happened to be Jewish, to support his theories of a ritual killing. Tikhon claims Yurovsky took special pleasure in the killings as an act of revenge.
Yakov Sverdlov, another Bolshevik involved in the killing of the last czar, was also Jewish, conspiracy theorists point out. Previously, the young pro-Putin parliamentarian Natalia Poklonskaya also claimed the Czar’s execution had “evil” religious motives.