Kazakhstan: EXPO Draws Critics, and EXPOs Misfires Back

The EXPO-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan’s latest glitzy and expensive attempt to showcase its development to the world, is not proving a public relations success.

One episode that became avoidably embarrassing began with Foreign Policy magazine publishing a sniffy piece, mockingly titled “Kazakhstan Spent $5 Billion on a Death Star and It Doesn’t Even Shoot Lasers,” calling not just Kazakhstan’s hosting, but also the entire concept, of the EXPO into question. The author of the piece dwelled in particular on the apparent paucity of visitors and the excess expense involved in organizing the fair.

Instead of exercising discretion, disgruntled officials in Astana have gone on the offensive.

Speaking to the media, Sergei Kuyanov, director of public relations at Astana EXPO-2017, on June 19 declared that the writer of the piece, James Palmer, was in no position to criticize as…

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