The situation in Batumi, the capital of the Adzharian autonomy, looks fairly calm on the exterior.
Despite the fact that the city is placed under curfew at 11 pm - 8 am local time, the local population does not seem to worry about it. Violators of the regime have their documents checked, and if they are in order, they may go. This correspondent learnt this from his own experience.
Monday evening was not different from any other evenings of the past years. People returning from work did not hurry and strolled along the beach with numerous cafes and restaurants. They gathered in groups and joined animated conversations. It is not difficult to guess the subject of their discussions. The on-going conflict between the central Georgian authorities and the Adzharian leadership cannot leave anybody indifferent because it may develop into a military crisis at any moment, though it has so far been reduced to an exchange of accusations.
You can see armed camouflaged people everywhere in the city, especially near the residence of the Adzharian leader, Aslan Abashidze.
Despite media reports, prices for essential products - bread, milk, flour, meat - have not increased. Only cheese and greens have got more expensive, as being delivered from central Georgia.
The blown up bridges near Choloka have not been restored yet. But this does not prevent people from entering or leaving the autonomy. This correspondent has seen people and children carrying sacks and suitcases cross the river using those parts of the bridge, which have remained intact after the explosion.
At the same time, the railway bridge linking Adzharia and central Georgia is not working yet - rails on it have been disassembled. On the Georgian side, tank cars with oil products are accumulating unable to be transported to Adzharia.
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