Bare-Chested Vladimir Putin Plunges into Icy Lake in Latest Macho Photo Op

A half-naked Vladimir Putin has carried out another of his macho photo ops – this time plunging into an icy lake as park of a ritual to mark Orthodox Epiphany.

The 65-year-old Russian President stripped to the waist and bared his chest before crossing himself and lowering himself into a hole in the ice over Lake Seliger.

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to take a dip in the water during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations at lake Seliger, Tver region, Russia

Mr Putin, wearing just trunks, became completely immersed in the water, having removed a sheepskin coat and felt boots for the freezing swim.

Temperatures hovered around -5C (23F).

The practice is part of the Christian Orthodox feast of Epiphany, when believers submerge themselves in water to mark the baptism of Jesus Christ.

Mr Putin requires little excuse to strip, however.

Putin fishes in the remote Tuva region

In 2009 he was famously pictured shirtless atop a horse during a mountain holiday, and last August the scantily-clad President paraded both his torso and fish he had caught in a Siberian lake.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is pictured with a horse during his vacation outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia on August 3, 2009. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / ALEXEY DRUZHININ (Photo credit should read ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

The President, who frequently attends Russian Orthodox ceremonies, is preparing to run in the country’s March presidential election.