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A Recording Coup

Maksim Bakiev, working against the interim government?
Maksim Bakiev, working against the interim government?
Your government is as weak as a "cardboard house," and he's coming to burn it down.

Is that a real threat against Kyrgyzstan's interim government by Maksim Bakiev, the son of the ousted president?

Many in Kyrgyzstan believe it to be so, following the emergence of voice recordings of purported phone conversations between Maksim and his blacklisted uncle, Janysh Bakiev.

One voice in the unconfirmed recordings, supposedly Maksim's, claims he is working to provoke people in southern Kyrgyzstan against the interim government. He says there are greater plans to pay for a couple of hundred people to cause chaos in Bishkek, using more than just stones.

The two Bakievs also allegedly discuss "localized operations" to "clean up certain objects."

During Kurmanbek Bakiev's rule, Maksim was the head of a lucrative agency in charge of investment and economic development, and Janysh was an influential figure in the law enforcement and security sectors.

Their whereabouts remain unclear since Bakiev's ouster following bloody riots in Bishkek last month.

But the former president, for one, is staying away from them, telling RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that "I know if I contact them -- whether my sons or my brothers -- then all the cases that you're talking about will be dumped on me."

-- Farangis Najibullah