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Today is a historic day for Russia. Eighty years have passed since the murder of the last Russian emperor and members of his family.

For many years we were silent about this awful crime but we must tell the truth. The reprisal in Yekaterinburg was one of the most shameful episodes in our history.

By burying the remains of the innocent murdered we want to expiate the sins of our ancestors.

Those who committed this crime are guilty as are those who approved of it for decades. We are all guilty. It is impossible to lie to ourselves by justifying senseless cruelty on political grounds.

The shooting of the Romanov family is a result of an uncompromising split in Russian society into "us" and "them." The results of this split can be seen even now.

Burying the victims of the Yekaterinburg tragedy is an act of humane justice, a symbol of unification in Russia and redemption of common guilt.

In the face of the historical memory of the nation we are responsible for everything. And that is why I could not have failed to appear here, as a human being and as a president. I bow my head for the victims of the merciless killings.

Building a new Russia must be based on its historical experience. Many glorious pages of Russian history were connected with the name of Romanovs. But with this name is connected one of the most bitter lessons: any attempt to change life through violence is condemned to failure.

We must end the century which has been an age of blood and violence in Russia with repentance and peace, regardless of political views, ethnic or religious belonging.

This is our historical chance. At the turn of the next millennium we must do this for the sake of those living now and the generations to come.

Let us remember those who became innocent victims of envy and violence.

Let them rest in peace.