Russia's Vladimir Putin takes dip in icy lake to mark Orthodox Epiphany

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin stripped off to his bathing trunks and immersed himself in the freezing waters of a lake late on Thursday, observing an Orthodox Christian ritual to mark the feast of Epiphany.

Russian state television showed Putin marching onto the ice of frozen Lake Seliger, about 400 km (250 miles) north of Moscow, dressed in a sheepskin coat and felt boots.

With his coat and boots removed, he then walked down a set of wooden steps into a hole in the ice, crossed himself, and dipped his head under the water before surfacing.

Air temperatures at the time were around six degrees Celsius below zero (21 degrees Fahrenheit).

See photos from Putin's icy dip:

7 PHOTOS
Vladimir Putin takes half-naked dip in icy lake for Orthodox ritual
See Gallery
Vladimir Putin takes half-naked dip in icy lake for Orthodox ritual
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks down into a hole in the ice before taking a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Seliger during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks down into a hole in the ice before taking a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Seliger during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin croses himself as he takes a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to take a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region, Russia January 19, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Each year on Epiphany, Orthodox believers immerse themselves in rivers and lakes to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.

Putin, who is campaigning for re-election in a March 18 presidential election, grew up under Communist rule where open shows of religion were frowned upon. As president, he has become a frequent attender of Russian Orthodox ceremonies, and has given the church a major voice in society.

The Russian leader, who is 65, has a track record of stripping to the waist in public to reveal his torso.

In August last year he was photographed with his shirt off catching fish in a mountain lake in Siberia and in August 2009, a bare-chested Putin was pictured riding a horse during a Siberian holiday.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.