— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 25, 2017
After actor Nicolas Cage’s visit to Kazakhstan last month sparked an internet frenzy, the country’s government is hoping to capitalise on famous visitors.
The Hollywood star was photographed clad in a traditional chapan (kaftan) while attending the 13th Eurasia Film Festival, almost instantaneously becoming a meme for the combination of the costume and his somewhat distant expression.
The potential for some extra publicity has not gone unnoticed by Dauren Abaev, the head of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Information and Communications, who now plans to give every celebrity guest to Kazakhstan a chapan.
“It seems to me that this is a brilliant, beautiful tradition of our people. It’s thanks to this, I think, that the expression on the actor’s face became a meme. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Now every guest [...] will be given a chapan,” said Mr Abaev, quoted by Russian magazine Afisha.
While human rights groups have slammed Cage for producing positive press coverage for what they see as an authoritarian regime, the criticism does not seem to have put off Kazakhstan’s Communications Ministry from trying a new PR strategy.
Source: Afisha (in Russian)