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Separate Kazakhstan Fact from Fiction

Can you tell the difference between real facts about Kazakhstan and Borat-supplied myths? We sifted through our Kazakh atlas and added facts about the country Borat calls home. Take the quiz and see if you know fact from Borat's fiction.

True or False?

1. Men do not normally shake a woman's hands in mixed company. Upon entering a room, Kazakh men use both hands to shake hands with every other man in the room.

2. The traditional meat of Kazakhstan is beshbarmak -- boiled horseflesh sitting atop wide, flat noodles.

3. Horses have the right to vote but women do not.

4. Kazakh myth: Whistling a song inside a building will cause you to be poor for the rest of your life.

5. In 1989, agricultural output had fallen so low that the secretary of Kazakhstan proposed to fulfill meat quotas by slaughtering millions of migrating wild ducks.

6. When a Kazak serves a sheep’s head, the custom is to give the forehead to someone who has a hard task ahead of him.

7. The age of consent has been raised to eight.

8. The country contains the world's largest population of wolves.

9. Of the 4.2 million women of childbearing age, an estimated 15 percent have borne seven or more children.

10. The oldest man in Kazakhstan is 39 years old.

11. Kazaks conduct business in Russian because there are no words in Kazak for many economic terms.

12. The "Virgin Lands" program in the 1950s and '60s encouraged Soviet citizens to cultivate Northern Kazakhstani land.

13. The Kazak word for dog is pronounced 'eat.'


1. True

2. True

3. False

4. True

5. True

6. True. You also give the ear to a small child who needs to be more attentive.

7. False

8. False. Although Kazakhstan itself made that boast in a four-page advertisement in The New York Times, according to the International Wolf Foundation, Canada has at least 30,000 more wolves than Kazakhstan.

9. True

10. False

11. True

12. True

13. True

Sources: U.S. State Department, Library of Congress, Kazakhstan embassy, International Wolf Foundation and other NPR reports

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Melody Joy Kramer