In stark contrast to their reaction after the release of the first movie (which led to a nationwide ban and the threat of a lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen), the government of Kazakhstan is embracing Borat/accepting the way things are, to the point that they've adopted his "very nice!" catchphrase as a slogan.
The New York Times reports that the just-released sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, has led to Kazakhstan's tourism board punctuating a set of news ads with the two-word phrase. Those ads depict visitors exploring different parts of the country (landscapes, landmarks, food, culture...you know how it works) in a setting that looks far, far greater than one may have expected.
For example...oh, we can just embed it:
The New York Times adds that the idea to go with the slogan came from a pair of current Kazakhstan residents. One of those residents, Dennis Keen, used to live in Los Angeles, and now has a travel show that runs on state TV. The second person behind the idea, Yermek Utemissov, aids foreign film companies who come to the country for projects.
This is to say they probably both have an idea of how audiences/visual mediums work.
As is common with a lot of things these days, the coronavirus pandemic also played a part. That tidbit came according to the deputy chairman of the country's tourism board, Kairat Sadvakassov.
“In COVID times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media," Sadvakassov said. "Not in the nicest way, but it’s good to be out there. We would love to work with Cohen, or maybe even have him film here.”
Speaking of, word of this got back to the film's star, who released a statement as a result. In that statement he said that the real country is vastly different from the way it's portrayed in Borat's universe. He also said Kazakhstan was chosen because it was so unknown, at least in the U.S., that he could depict it to fit in with the films' narrative(s).
"This is a comedy, and the Kazakhstan in the film has nothing to do with the real country," Cohen said. "I chose Kazakhstan because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version."