President Vladimir Putin waded into a frozen lake in a traditional celebration of Epiphany.
The annual baptism is a long-running staple of the Orthodox Church, with believers across Russia taking the midwinter dip.
Putin took the plunge into an ice-hole in Lake Seliger, north of Moscow, to commemorate the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River over two thousand years ago.
Putin, renowned for his ‘tough guy’ image and his love of outdoor pursuits, walked up to the freezing water in a thick fur coat, casually inquiring whether the gathered reporters were feeling cold. He then removed his outer attire and took his dip in the water, which had been blessed by the Russian clergy.
Traditionally, bathing in ice-cold rivers and ponds takes place during the night of January 18-19. The weather for this year’s Epiphany was milder than usual, with the temperature near Lake Seliger standing at about six or seven degrees Celsius below zero (19 Fahrenheit).