Wonkette's Moving To Kazakhstan!
The crafty Jew comedian Sasha Baron Cohen continues to derail the White House's latest dirty dealings with the oil-rich dictatorship of Kazakhstan. Over at the Kazakh Embassy, they are losing their minds. This was not how Dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev wanted his Washington visit to be remembered.
Like Saudi Arabia after 9/11, Kazakhstan took the usual totalitarian-regime route and put a four-page advertisement in the NYT and IHT. We love these things and have often used such sovietesque PR to plan new lives abroad: Hmm, did you know Mumbalumbia has far-reaching leisure touristic possibility and historical culture of timeless contrast, not to mention world's eighth largest coal mine? But most people are immune to the Kazakh Charm Offensive -- because they're too busy e-mailing the NYT's funny article about Borat's DC appearance yesterday, making that goofy story the Most E-Mailed of the Day.
Come with us on a magical tour of the Kazakh Steppe, after the jump.
According to the official Kazakhstan Embassy website, which was apparently made in 1997 with a free GeoCities account, this magnificent nation offers so many jewels:
* "Closeness of Almaty to the Zaili Alatau mountains adds special charm to the city, providing the fantastic diversity of beautiful surroundings, routes and landscape, which attracts tourists and lovers of active leisure."
* "The Medeo the world-famous skating-rink is probably the most visited and attractive site within the Almaty area. It derives its name from that of an ancient nomad, Medeo, who founded a village in that fabulous place."
* "Those who seek stomach-turning sensations may try the skiing resort of Chimbulak."
* "Unexpected paradise can be found on the territory of the State Park of Altyn-Emel. It stretches from Ily-river till mountain ridges of Aktau. Here one can see rock paintings, witness the enormous variety of the fauna and the Singing barkhan. This unique miracle of the nature is a 300-m. high sand hill, which utters sounds, resembling the siren of riverboats."
* "Nuclear tests were carried out south-west of Semipalatinsk until 1990, and today background radiation does not exceed international standards. The town of Ust-Kamenogorsk is a mining and smelting town and is the gateway to the Altai Mountains."
* "The trial of the 10 people charged with the murder of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev began on June 14. The defendants include the former Senate majority leader and several members of the security forces. The first day was immediately adjourned because two defendants' lawyers were absent. The venue for the trial has caused some controversy. Family members want the trial held in the capital, Almaty, where the victims were kidnapped from, but the government is holding the trial 120 miles away where the bodies had been found. The distance prevents many family members from attending the trial."
Oh wait, that last item comes from a news story last month. Sorry!
Tourism in Kazakhstan [Embassy of Kazakhstan]
Maybe Borat Would Be Better [Harpers]
Borat: Kazakhstan's Mighty Faux [Washington Post]
Kazakhstan Comes On Strong [Time]