Kazakhstan Versus Borat: The David and Goliath of PR Battles

"Please, you come see my film. If it not success, I will be execute," Borat "reports" of his possible execution at the end of the film's trailer on his Web site. The film makes its premiere in November.

What's At Stake

Both the United States and Kazakhstan view each other as key assets.

"Kazakhstan is viewed by the United States as the key partner in Central Asia, as a Muslim majority country which is secular and tolerant. The United States is the largest investor in Kazakhstan with 15 billion dollars invested so far and with 400 companies with American participation," according to Vassilenko. "All of these issues are on the agenda for the meeting between the two presidents at the White House."

For Borat, despite Kazakhstan's threats and some criticism about the way Cohen portrays women and Jews, the old adage still stands: any press is good press.

Even Borat's MySpace page seems to hit the giant square between the eyes. On the page, he says: "My heroes is Premier Nazharbayev [sic]," an ironic and self referential disclosure considering Nazarbeyev's rigid hold on the press and limited free speech in Kazakhstan.

As Kazakhstan and the White House continue to do business after today's talks and as Cohen's film builds to be one the most highly anticipated films of the fall, both David and Goliath seem to be winning this modern day war that is playing out nicely in the media.

Vassilenko concluded that Borat's rock-slinging has not necessarily been negative and alluded that it has been an "opportunity" for his country.

"It's not bad, no. We welcome this opportunity to tell our story. It is a challenge, but it is one we embrace."

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