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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakh Envoy Tries to Undo Borat Damage

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut -- The Kazakh ambassador has embarked on a tour of universities around the United States to counter the outlandish portrayal of his home country in the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

The fictional character played in the popular satirical movie by comic Sacha Baron Cohen portrays Kazakhs as addicted to horse urine, fond of shooting dogs, and viewing incest as a respectable hobby. Cohen, whose film was released last November, won a Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical.

"There were a lot of funny things in it, but it has nothing to do with the real Kazakhstan," Kanat Saudabayev, the country's ambassador to the United States and Canada, told students at Yale University this week.

Kazakhstan has placed ads in U.S. newspapers and on television to tout its rapid economic growth and immense oil reserves, describing a country of cash machines, sushi bars and high-tech conference centers.

Kazakhstan, which has a population of 16 million but is the world's ninth-largest country by area, recently led an effort to proclaim the Central Asian region a nuclear-free zone.

The ambassador portrayed the diverse country as a model in many ways, saying it voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons, saves its cash from oil for the future, is working to diversify its economy and wants to enact more democratic reforms. The country survived and has thrived when many experts predicted it would fail, Saudabayev said.