He presumably took the dip to shore up his electoral prospects
Russian President Vladimir Putin took a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Seliger to celebrate Epiphany as the state media and representatives from other news organizations looked on. Epiphany is an important holiday in present-day Russia. The celebration marks Jesus Christ's baptism.
Russian television broadcasts showed the 65-year-old Russian President taking part in the yearly Russian Orthodox church custom. He waded through the ice-cold waters of the frozen lake. The waterbody is situated about 250 miles away from Moscow. This was the first time Putin’s Epiphany ceremony was publicly viewed. This see-for-all is being done to clearly prop up the electoral prospects of the Putin regime. The Washington Post has noted, the present Moscow regime has found to its chagrin a massive drop in popularity. Putin knows the record lows for him and his party will go against him during election time. He has taken the only course available right now – he will play to the gallery. In this case, the audience pleaser is blending state duties with religion. He has mixed and matched religiosity with outdoor endurance feats.
President Putin dipped in a time-honored Russian manner in front of television cameras which he knew will broadcast his newfound public spirituality far and wide. He went near the lake waters, undressed by taking off his fur coat and winter boots. Russia's most powerful man then waded into the icy water. A quick show of hand movement echoing the cross quickly followed. Putin then placed his head for a few moments underwater and brought it up again.
For Putin, this is not his first Epiphany. He does this every year. The president in 2018 first went to St. Petersburg and then the Leningrad Region. He then visited St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery. The monastery is located in Tver Region. For Putin, taking off his clothes in front of everyone has now become a routine affair. He did the same in 2017. The president took off his clothes in front of media persons while fishing. All pictures showed him topless. Putin also asked the media to take photos of him while he rode bare-chested on a horse while on a vacation.