Bare-chested Putin takes dip in icy lake for Epiphany

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his tradition of stripping down to the waist in public Friday when he took a dip in the freezing waters of an icy lake to celebrate the Orthodox Christian ritual marking the Epiphany.

State television showed the 65-year-old Russian leader marking a hole cut into the ice of Frozen Lake Seliger, about 250 miles north of Moscow.

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. - RC1794CE88A0

Putin wore a sheepskin coat and felt boots before stripping down to his bathing trucks.  (REUTERS)

After taking off a sheepskin coat and felt boots, Putin walked down wooden steps leading into the water, crossed himself and dipped his head under.

According to reports, air temperatures at the time were around 21 degrees.

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks out of a hole in the ice after 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. - UP1EE1J0OUYHV

In Orthodox tradition, believers immerse themselves in rivers and lakes to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.  (REUTERS)

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the president had dipped in icy waters on the Epiphany before, but Thursday marked the first time he publicly did so.

In Orthodox tradition, believers immerse themselves in rivers and lakes to commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Authorities set up bathing sites for believers all over Russia, including some areas in Siberia where temperatures dipped below -22 F.

Putin has had a track record of stripped down to the waist in public.

putin vacation

Putin was photographed with his shirt off while on a spearfishing vacation in the southern mountain lake in Siberia.  (AP)

In August last year, he was photographed with his shirt off while on a spearfishing vacation in the southern mountain lake in Siberia. In August 2009, a bare-chested Putin was pictures riding a horse during a Siberian holiday.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang