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Hopes For Poti's Future

Busy streets in a more optimistic Poti

Busy streets in a more optimistic Poti

1 p.m. local time (9 a.m. GMT)

This is supposed to be the Russian soldiers' last day in Poti. If Mayor Saghinadze's claims are true, the last of the forces should leave by Saturday.

Indeed, the Russians are clearly preparing to leave -- but they don't seem to be in any kind of hurry. In theory, all they have to do is fold up their tents and go. But the tents are still standing, and the soldiers are continuing to slowly load their Ural trucks.

At least there seem to be fewer of them.

The mayor of Poti is already sharing some positive news. Countering widespread fears that the destruction and insecurity caused by the invasion would have a long-term impact on Poti's economic future, Mayor Saghinadze is already engaged in negotiations with new investors. Part of Poti's coastline, the site of citrus plantations during Soviet times, has been granted to the Orthodox Church, but 450 hectares remain and are in need of development.

Now, it turns out, a company from an Arab state has expressed interest, and is planning to invest $2 million in the area. The local authorities have reportedly received the news as a sign of Poti's imminent development and bright future.