Sometimes you see a news headline and think “that sounds like a Nicolas Cage movie.” This is one of those instances, but it involves a royal skull and a Russian spaceplane.
This is a complex story, but here are the key facts you need to know. A businessman from Kazakhstan mysteriously came into ownership of a Soviet Buran spaceplane. This orbiter was the Soviet’s response to the American space shuttle, and is considered a national treasure. (See below for more context)
Outrage erupted after the craft was graffitied, much to the chagrin of the Russian government. As a result, Moscow was very eager for the return of the relic. However, the owner, named Dauren Musa, proposed an odd trade instead.
— Vinni Verona (@vincenzobarri71) October 6, 2021
He wants the skull of a King
Kenesary Kasymov was the last Kazakh Khan, and led a rebellion against Russia in the the 1840s. Some of his adversaries thought he was a bit of a knob. Although, history also sees him as somewhat of a hero because he died in battle against rivals while on campaign to liberate his region.
Because Kasymov had stepped on so many toes, his head was severed, and sent to the Russians. Consequently, the skull was kept as a trophy of war, but Moscow claims to have “misplaced it.”
That is the skull Musa wants to trade the spaceship for. If you need more evidence as why Nick Cage should play this man, look no further. In a recent interview, Musa said, “It is not water that flows in our veins, but blood, and it has the scent of wormwood.”
Some government officials claims Musa illegally obtained the ship. The Kazakh Minister of Digital Development Bagdat Musin stated, “We believe that Mr. Musa has no right to this company, to the property and the Buran.”
The original Buran spaceplane did two laps around the earth, but the program was cut after the Soviet Union collapsed. It was stored in a hanger but was destroyed after the roof collapsed. Although, there was a second model made that was never put to the test. Unlike other later replicas, the one owned by Musa could fly, making it an extremely rare collectible.