As it is the year of the presidential election in Russia, something tells me we’ll be seeing a lot of Putin staged in photo opportunity moments, though I have to admit that the following one takes guts.
In order to celebrate the Orthodox feast of the Epiphany, Russian strongman Putin dipped into the icy waters of a frozen lake, located some 250 miles north of Moscow.
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Dressed fashionably for the environment (it was minus seven degrees Celsius outside), Russian state television went live and showed President Putin in a long sheepskin coat and felt boots, marching onto the ice of the frozen lake Seliger.
Just as the Orthodox religion prescribes, he commemorated that Epiphany by immersing himself in a lake to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">President Putin bathes in Lake Seliger in Russia's Tver Region on the occasion of Epiphany. Rossiya 1 correspondents say the temperature outside was -7°C. <a href="https://t.co/tceVjelkUv">pic.twitter.com/tceVjelkUv</a></p>— BBC Monitoring (@BBCMonitoring) <a href="https://twitter.com/BBCMonitoring/status/954249992864260097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 19, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Whereas religion was almost forbidden in the Soviet era, President Putin has learned to use its power for political good and can be seen in religious ceremonies quite often. Under his rule, the church became a major voice in society once again.
President Putin is probably the only 65-year-old world leader who makes a habit out of stripping to his bare chest for photo opportunities. In August last year was fishing in a mountain lake in Siberia without a shirt on and the most famous one is still his bare-chested pose riding a horse in 2009.