Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov claims the publicity from “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” has caused visa applications to increase tenfold in the six years since its release. Okay, but Kazakhstan has also been helped by joining forces with The Region Initiative, which functions as a link between three regions–South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe–connecting Kazakhstan with other nations in those regions for the tourism market. Weirdly, tourism is the most rapid growing economic sector in Kazakhstan.
In the past few years, rock and roll has come to Kazakhstan, and Kazakhs have seen concerts from the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, the Scorpions and Deep Purple. This year, to mark its 20 years of independence from the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan, which is still dealing with heavy pollution left over from the Soviet era, released a major national epic called “Myn Bala,” the country’s most expensive film ever.
Kazakhstan got lucky. But don’t plan to book a flight to the Republic of Wadiya, homeland of Admiral General Aladeen featured in “The Dictator.” The country is fictional.