Kazakhstan tries to sell its freezing capital

Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev with Nicolas Sarkozy in front of Astana's golden skyline
As I write you from my parents’ home in the sub freezing winter wonderland of Minneapolis, I am pleased to report that this weather now apparently qualifies for envy.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev made his annual speech yesterday, and attempted to lure diplomats to move to the country’s capital city, Astana, on the basis of its face-breaking cold weather. “It only strengthens our spirit,” he said, on a day when the temperature was -22°F.

Nazarbayev
(above right, with Nicolas Sarkozy, in front of the Astana skyline in October 2009) went on to praise the sanitary effects of the frigid environment, saying: “Even germs can’t survive in this weather.”

Astana is the world’s second coldest capital city (after Ulaan-baatar, Mongolia), but with all that oil and mineral money, you can bet they’re toasty warm inside their gold-tinted (seriously!) buildings.

[via Reuters]