A monument to Kenesary Khan in Astana (file photo)
Kazakh lawmaker Baqytzhan Smaghulov has urged Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin follows through on his promise to return the skull of the last Kazakh Khan, Kenesary Khan, to Kazakhstan.
Smaghulov said during a session of parliament on January 11 that Kenesary Khan's skull, which along with his rifle, is currently kept at the Ethnography Museum in Moscow, must be buried in Kazakhstan "to restore historic justice."
Kazakhs have been requesting Russia to return Kenesary Khan's skull to Kazakhstan for years.
Kenesary Khan, also known as Kenesary Qasymuly, was elected as the ruler of all Kazakhs in 1841. He led the largest uprising against Russia's colonial troops in Kazakhstan in the 19th century before he was killed in 1847 on the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan.
His head was cut off and sent to Russian authorities in the Siberian city of Omsk as a trophy.
In June 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Kazakhstan’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, that Kenesary's skull would be returned to Kazakhstan. Russia returned the skull of another leader of the Kazakh national liberation movement, Keiki Batyr, to Kazakhstan for burial in 2016.
Keiki Batyr, also known as Nurmaghanbet Kokembaiuly, was a key leader of a Kazakh uprising against tsarist Russia in 1916.
He also refused to recognize the Soviet Union after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in 1917.
The Soviets killed him in 1923, and his skull was kept in St. Petersburg's Kunstkamera Museum.
In 2017, the leader of Russia's North Caucasus region of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, called for the burial of the skull of Khadzhi-Murat -- a leader of the 19th century Chechen and Daghestani resistance against Russia.
Khadzhi-Murat's skull is kept in a St. Petersburg museum.