Russia's Putin Welcomes New Year With Sober Message
MOSCOW, Dec 31 (Reuters) - Russians with a taste for a bracing New Year swim braved freezing temperatures to plant traditional festive fir trees on the seabed and at the bottom of a lake on Tuesday.
"We like to celebrate the New Year underwater," said Andrei Baranovsky, one of a team of divers who planted a decorated tree 17 metres (55 ft) below the ice on Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake.
"And for the fish it's fun too, although I don't think they celebrate New Year so it's probably all the same to them."
Elsewhere, a team of extreme sports enthusiasts from the northwestern coastal town of Severomorsk planted a tree on the bed of the Northern Ocean.
The three divers danced round the tree and opened a bottle of champagne while underwater, Itar-Tass news agency reported.
New Year is the biggest holiday in the Russian calendar and it is traditional to put up a tree for celebrations with family and friends.