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'Everyone's Afraid'

2:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. GMT)

Konstantine Gergaulov
As I was walking along the street, I bumped into a very good friend of mine. Konstantine Gergaulov is one of the most colorful personalities I know. A graduate of two universities, he works as a street sweeper during the day, and spends nights surfing the Internet. He seemed very sad and worried today -- he complained of people being so scared that sometimes they would not even greet each other. The Russian forces should leave immediately, he said. Konstantine admitted he was scared too -- more than anything else, he was afraid of the possibility that this could be the start of World War III.

The Poti municipality building was open today, with flags hanging over the street. It was quiet there, in contrast to two days ago, when the area was full of people who had come here to greet the president and call for the withdrawal of the Russian forces. I chatted a bit with one of the members of the municipal guard. He said the Russian checkpoints - with their tents, trenches, and hardware -- remain firmly in place, and no one dares to approach them, everyone's afraid. But even from afar, the guard said, it was possible to see the soldiers bathing in the Rioni River. This does not sound like anyone is getting ready to pull out.