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RUSSIA — Utah's former governor is trying out a rather icy approach to diplomacy.
Jon Huntsman Jr., who is currently serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, took a plunge on Sunday into the freezing waters of the Istra River near Moscow. But Huntsman's shirtless dip into the river wasn't just his attempt at a polar plunge video; it was in honor of an Orthodox tradition for the Epiphany holiday.
The tradition is popular in Russia, and Huntsman wasn't alone in participating this year. Just two days earlier, Russian president Vladimir Putin took his own dip into freezing waters to mark Epiphany, the holiday that commemorates Christ's baptism in the Jordan River.
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After the plunge, Huntsman said he is confident this "cold tradition can help move Russian-American relations in a warm direction," according to the Washington Post, and apparently it's already working because TV channel 360 said the ambassador showed “Russian courage and English gallantry."