The U.S. State Department’s denial that it knows where Maksim Bakiev is has deepened the 10-day-old mystery surrounding the whereabouts of now ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiev’s son.
It all began on April 6th, when Maksim Bakiev left Kyrgyzstan on a Washington-bound plane -- the same day that anti-government clashes between protesters and state security forces broke out back home.
He was heading stateside for previously scheduled meetings with U.S. officials, but as the clashes intensified, those meetings were cancelled.
Since then, Maksim Bakiev had stayed off the radar, and chances are he won’t be very eager to reappear.
Since his departure from Kyrgyzstan, his father has stepped down as president and left for neighboring Kazakhstan. That means Maksim isn’t exactly likely to retake his post as head of Kyrgyzstan’s Agency for Investment and Economic Development.
The country’s interim government has opened criminal cases
against him, and accusations of embezzlement and abuse of power won’t make him feel very welcome back in Bishkek.
So where is he?
During an April 14 press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley was asked by a reporter whether Maksim Bakiev was seeking asylum stateside -- one of the various rumors that have been swirling in recent days.
Crowley’s response: “We don’t believe his [Kurmanbek Bakiev’s] son is in the United States. We don’t know where he is.”
But Maksim must be somewhere, and until he is found in the flesh, we’ll have to settle for tracking him online.
The president’s son -- or whoever is behind the username “maksimbakiev” -- hasn’t been shy in recent days about updating his Livejournal page
The last post was added today: A statement signed “K. Bakiev” announces the now ex-President’s resignation and blames members of the interim government for the violence and bloodshed of the clashes.
“Maksimbakiev” has even posted an Interfax news brief
describing the criminal case against Maksim Bakiev, with no accompanying commentary.
One reader attached his own comment: “Maksim! Along with the posts, do you have no personal opinion? Or is someone else running this journal?”
The user “maksimbakiev” responded via personal email.
Video reports, interviews, and other material from Russian news sources have also been posted -- all concerning recent developments in Kyrgyzstan.
But one thing has been removed from the page since it was created on April 8
Then, the location was listed as New York. Now there is no location listed at all.
-- Richard Solash