The government of Kazakhstan has spent substantial sums on global public relations, striving to shape an image as a modern, open and investment-friendly nation by relying on a stable of top-tier public relations firms and international advisors.
Firms that have helped Kazakhstan burnish its international profile, either presently or in the recent past, include Tony Blair Associates, BGR Gabara, Portland Communications, and Berlin-based Media Consulta.
Astana’s recent PR push includes the placement of infomercials on global cable channels, including CNN International. And, using forensic investigative techniques, EurasiaNet.org also has uncovered evidence that suggests PR firms may have massaged Wikipedia entries in ways that cast the Kazakhstani government in a better light.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.