[JURIST] The Russian Supreme Court [official website, in Russian] on Wednesday declared [Moscow Times report] the 1918 killing [eyewitness account] of Tsar Nicholas II [memorial website] an act of political "repression." The ruling, long sought by the Tsar's descendants, is seen an exoneration of the country's last monarch, who had been villainized as "Bloody Nicholas" since the country's Bolshevik revolution [MIA backgrounder] which led to his ouster and death. The decision that the killing was political allows for the "rehabilitation" or formal recognition of the Tsar's former rule. The ruling was praised by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which canonized Nicholas and his family in 2000. Some Communist Party leaders criticized the ruling, calling it a rewrite of history. AFP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.
In November 2007, the court had originally refused to rehabilitate the Tsar [JURIST report] because it found his killing a non-political murder. That decision upheld a September determination [JURIST report] by Russia's Prosecutor General [official website, in Russian] which said that the Tsar could not be rehabilitated, as he was not executed following a formal sentencing by a court or "extrajudicial body." The Prosecutor General's office took control of the case in May after several Russian courts also refused to declare the execution a political killing [JURIST report].