The wild success of “Borat” hasn’t helped his country’s public image, Mr. Kelimbetov said. Just last month the parody anthem from the Borat movie, which commends for its high-quality potassium exports and having the second cleanest prostitutes in the region was played, in error, at the Amir of Kuwait International Shooting Grand Prix at which Kazakh athletes participated.
The mix-up was apparently the result of the wrong song being downloaded from the Internet. When the Kazakh athletes complained, the ceremony was re-staged. But the incident highlighted how Kazakhstan still finds itself victim to parody.
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Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov spent his first months in office in 2007 reversing some of the more controversial policies of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.
He reopened rural hospitals, for example, and expanded access to the Internet (albeit with severe restrictions).
And in one of the most visible changes, he began dismantling the former president’s personality cult. Berdymukhammedov, who came to power following Niyazov’s death in December 2006, ordered the removal of the numerous monuments and portraits of his predecessor in towns and cities across the country.
He also restored the original names of the months that Niyazov had renamed after himself and his mother.
But it wasn’t long before Berdymukhammedov, who won a second term as president on February 12 with a decisive 97 percent of the vote, starting following in Niyazov’s footsteps, building a personality cult of his own.