Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
Aegon to sell its CEE business to Vienna Insurance for €830mn
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
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Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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Kazakhstan has, for the first time ever, embraced the character of Borat. In the wake of the release of the Borat 2 film ("Borat Subsequent Moviefilm", the sequel to "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"), it has started using one of the most popular Borat catchphrases, "Very nice!" in official tourism advertising, AV Club reported.
Kazakhstan’s officials have till now not been the biggest fans of Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat character, who is depicted in an extremely satirical and deliberately provocative way, depicting his fictional homeland as misogynistic, homophobic and anti-Semitic.
"In COVID times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media," Kazakhstan Tourism board deputy chairman, Kairat Sadvakassov, told The New York Times. "Not in the nicest way, but it's good to be out there."
Sadvakassov added in a statement to the Huffington Post that adopting Borat’s catchphrase in the campaign “offers the perfect description of Kazakhstan’s vast tourism potential in a short, memorable way.”
“Kazakhstan’s nature is very nice; its food is very nice; and its people, despite Borat’s jokes to the contrary, are some of the nicest in the world. We would like everyone to come experience Kazakhstan for themselves by visiting our country in 2021 and beyond, so that they can see that Borat’s homeland is nicer than they may have heard,” he said.
The idea for the campaign came from American Dennis Keen, who travelled to the country on a high school exchange, then studied with a Kazakh professor at Stanford University. He now lives in Almaty, where he gives walking tours, according to the New York Times. Keen reportedly pitched the idea to the Kazakh tourism board and “immediately” got the go-ahead to make some ads.
After the approval of the slogan was secured, four short ads highlighting the country's culture and destinations were launched, each using the "Very nice!" catchphrase. The ads show tourists hiking with a selfie stick, (“Very nice!”), drinking fermented horse milk (“Mmm, that’s actually very nice!”), marvelling at the architecture (“Wow, very nice!”) and posing for a photograph with Kazakhs in traditional dress (“That’s very nice!”).
Some Kazakh citizens have expressed outrage at Borat 2, prompting Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to respond to the anger. The ministry said the movie was a commercial project that intentionally provokes protest from Kazakh citizens for the purpose of self-promotion. Some Kazakhs demanded a ban on the movie.
"The people of Kazakhstan and its state symbols are mocked for provocation purposes. The noted protest is meaningless as it has no recipient. The more outrage it gets, the more profit the film creators get. Gaining superprofits pushes the authors to continue the movie. In fact, the film has a clear form of racism and xenophobia. Our citizens are outraged by explicit racist remarks for a reason," the ministry’s statement added.
The first Borat film’s version of the Kazakhstan national anthem begins with the words: “Kazakhstan greatest country in the world, all other countries run by little girls.” (The true anthem begins: “Sky of golden sun, steppe of golden seed”.)
After the release of the first Borat film in 2006, the Kazakh government placed ads in US newspapers taking issue with some of the film’s claims. The ads also represented the country as modern, stable and outward-looking. The advertisements coincided with a visit to the US from then Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Later in 2006, Nazarbayev chuckled when asked about the film while on a visit to the UK. “The very fact that you have put that question – you will want to learn more and come to Kazakhstan to see for yourself,” he said.
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