The half-naked Russian president marked the baptism of Jesus Christ when he bathed in the icy waters in -6C weather.
Putin, 65, marched onto the frozen lake and removed his thick sheepskin coat and felt boots for the cameras.
He then climbed down a set of wooden steps into a hole in the ice, crossed himself and dipped his head under the water as he observed the Orthodox Christian ritual marking the feast of Epiphany.
Putin, who is often seen topless or taking part in 'manly' activities, took part in it at Lake Seliger, late on Thursday.
Orthodox believers dunk themselves in rivers and lakes every year on Epiphany to commemorate the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan.