12 july 2020

Central Asia news

Nazarbayev: Since the movie was made by a comedian, laughing at it is all right

22.11.2006 10:35 msk


Politics Kazakhstan

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev is on a visit to Great Britain these days. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday he was asked questions about the scandalous movie "Borat: America's Cultural Studies For The Famed People Of Kazakhstan". "This journalist Borat Sagdiyev [main character played by British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen], he isn't here, by any chance, representing Kazakhstan?" Nazarbayev smiled. "If here is here, I'd like to talk to him." As far as the Kazakh president was concerned, the movie was made by a comedian which made laughing at it all right.

Nazarbayev: The very fact that you are asking questions about it indicates that you would like to know more about Kazakhstan and even, perhaps, to visit it. You are welcome. It does worry us that Europe does not really know that much about Kazakhstan despite all our efforts to ameliorate this state of affairs. Whenever Kazakhstan is mentioned, people still think that it is a part of the USSR or Russia. They even sometimes mistake it for Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, or some other country...

Alyona Miklashevskaya, Kommersant, November 22, 2006, p. 21


"The movie has had a positive effect on the image of Kazakhstan in the eyes of the international community even despite its fairly crude, tasteless, and openly idiotic humor," Kazakh Minister of Culture and Information Yermuhamet Yertysbayev was quoted as saying. Yertysbayev commented on similarities between how Kazakh officials reacted to the movie and the history of Nikolai Gogol's Inspector, the play that enraged Russian bureaucracy in the 19th century and eventually became a classic piece. The minister' boldness is surprising. Nazarbayev himself was furious at the movie at first and particularly at the racist image of Kazakhstan it portrayed. As a matter of fact, the Kazakh authorities even pondered a lawsuit against movie-makers.