U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. took a dip into icy waters in the Istra River outside Moscow over the weekend in a move that the Washington Post described as “shirtless diplomacy.”
The former Utah governor attempted the Orthodox Christian tradition of jumping into a body of water for the Epiphany celebration, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, according to the Post.
Russia President Vladimir Putin did the same plunge last week. Huntsman performed the act as a way of easing tension between the U.S. and Russia, the newspaper reported.11 comments on this story
“This allows us to better get to know Russia’s great culture from the inside,” Huntsman told Russian media after taking the dip, according to the Washington Post.
Watch the video of Huntsman below, which was filmed by Russian TV reporters.
The Russian tabloid website Komsomolskaya Pravda shared a photo of the shirtless Huntsman emerging from the water.
According to Newsweek, Putin similarly observed the Orthodox Christian custom at the frozen Lake Seliger, which is about 250 miles north of Moscow.
The Russian president disrobed and hopped into the water, which was a cool 21 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watch Putin observe the tradition below.