STONE COLD

Shirtless Vladimir Putin Takes a Plunge in Freezing Waters

Vladimir Putin took part in a Russian tradition marking the Orthodox Epiphany, which required the Russian president to plunge into icy waters— bare-chested, of course. During the ceremony at a lake outside Moscow, the temperature hovered at 23 degrees Fahrenheit and the Russian president was surrounded by Orthodox priests and “glittering religious icons.” The president stripped down to his swimming trunks and stepped into a hole cut into the lake’s ice. When a journalist asked Putin if it was cold, he responded, “No, it’s great.” The ceremony marked the first time that Putin took part in the ritual publicly, but his spokesperson noted that he had been “plunging into an ice hole for a number of years now.” The event usually takes place on Jan. 18th and 19th across Russia, and last year two million people plunged into frigid waters.