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Rain, Rain, Go Away...And Take These Russians With You!


10:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. GMT)

The Russian troops are still packing up to leave, as far as we can tell. (As you can see, we're all watching them pretty closely.)

Their tents are still pitched and flags are still flying, but today there were noticeably fewer soldiers at the checkpoints.

Last night, the Russians lit campfires and just sat around trying to keep warm. It's gotten colder in Poti with the approach of fall and virtually nonstop rain.

The pullout, obviously, is the main topic of everyone’s discussions these days. The anxiety and skepticism that dominated the general atmosphere have given way to hopefulness and anticipation. One of the most telling indicators of that transformation is that most people I talk to now say they plan to send their children to school when it opens on September 15. It’s gotten safe enough to do so, they say, unlike even a few days ago.

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