Photos from Serbia's Love Parade for Vladimir Putin
The government organised a large rally in Belgrade to keep the Russian president happy and on their side.
This article originally appeared on VICE Serbia
Serbians love Putin. A lot. President Aleksander Vučić predicted that around 70,000 people would hit the streets of Belgrade on Thursday to welcome the Russian president on his one-day visit. But that estimate turned out a significant low ball – according to police, around 125,000 people marched through downtown Belgrade.
Serbia's most passionate Putin fans were bussed in from all over the country for the event. Many were seen waving Russian flags along the route, while others showed off their homemade signs and portraits of the Russian leader. The only time they were disappointed was when the two leaders downgraded their expected speeches to just a quick wave and a brief thank you to the crowd.
Much of this bizarre love-in was organised by the government to keep Putin happy and on their side. At a press conference earlier in the day, the presidents signed more than 20 bilateral agreements, as Putin reaffirmed his support for Vučić and Serbia in the country's ongoing dispute with Kosovo.
Scroll down to see more photos from Putin's visit and welcome parade.