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Borat Forces out Kazakh Prime Minister January 8, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.

This just in from Reuters:

ASTANA, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Kazakh Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov resigned unexpectedly on Monday, forcing the entire cabinet to quit and casting doubt on who will head the oil producing state’s government.

Former Soviet Kazakhstan, the largest republic in Central Asia, borders China and Russia and holds huge energy reserves exploited by Western companies looking to circumvent the Arab-dominated OPEC. Energy hungry China has also been casting glances at oil and gas resources in Kazakhstan — which wants to triple production to 3 million barrels a day by 2015, turning it into one of the world’s top producers.

Kazakhstan, was, of course, until recently, little known outside of the oil industry but has since been made famous by the hit movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The country also, according to Reuters, wants to triple oil production to 3 million barrels a day by 2015, largely to help fulfill China’s insatiable appetite for oil.

“I hope that you will continue to work in this area (government) and continue to creatively put into action ideas of the head of state,” Akhmetov, prime minister since June 2003, is quoted by Reuters as telling his colleagues after announcing his resignation at a cabinet meeting. “In the meantime, I go to America, to find a lovely new wife and maybe go to Northern California and buy a Tesla.”

Akhmetov, 52, is said to be a loyalist of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and, according to a report out of Reuters, “looked relaxed and happy during the session, which was videotaped and shown to Reuters. He did not say why he had resigned,” but rumors have been pouring in that Nazarbayev, who was initially upset at Borat’s portray of Kazakhstan in Borat, has since come to the conclusion that the publicity gained has offset any negative impact sustained by the movie’s worldwide popularity. The few non-government blogs in Kazakhstan are hinting of a possible coup d’etat initiated by Borat, whose real identity is believed to be Sacha Baron Cohen, a British comedian.

Akhmetov’s apparent giddiness with losing his job to Borat is understandable, and he is known to be fond of Kazakhstan’s national sport, naked wrestling, which has gained popularity in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. The sport has gained traction despite the fact that there is a heavy Islamic influence in Central Asia, although generally, the sport is still limited to motel and hotel rooms in the Kazahk hinterlands.

Borat is reportedly promising to promote the sport heavily if he becomes the new Prime Minister, and will try to help push the sport into the Summer Olympics, replacing baseball.

This has, in turn, enhanced Chicago’s chances of landing the summer Olympics, since Chicago politicians are themselves famous for wrestling, naked, in hotel rooms (“it’s how we get things done,” one aide to both Dalys (Dailies? how the hell do you spell that, anyway?)  is known to have said).



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