SPS Leader Nemtsov to Mark Epiphany With Swimming in Ice-Hole

Boris Nemtsov, one of the SPS (Union of Right Forces) political party leaders, is going to mark the holiday of Orthodox Epiphany with swimming in an ice-hole as prescribed by a long-standing Russian tradition. According to SPS spokeswoman Elena Dikun, on Sunday Nemtsov, accompanied by State Duma deputies Boris Nadezhdin and Yuri Kurin, will plunge into the icy waters of the Moskva river near the Serebryany Bor recreation area.

Elena Dikun said that the Union of Right Forces is going to use its leader's uncommon exercise in support of the party's "appeal to compatriots to lead active and healthy lifestyles".

Other SPS leaders, Irina Khakamada, Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais, however, do not hasten to follow Nemtsov's example. In their opinion, they are not yet quite ready to venture such drastic health-improvement methods, Elena Dikun said.

The SPS spokeswoman reminded the audience that in his appeals for a healthier lifestyle Nemtsov suits his words to his deeds - he gave up smoking last year. 14 February 2003 will mark the first anniversary of his quitting this health-impairing habit, she pointed out.

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