The boy in the YouTube video appears to be no more than five or six years old, and is hysterical throughout the ordeal. The priest and other adults wear furs, thick vestments or heavy blankets as protection against the cold, whilst the child has a flimsy blanket. After the onlookers have removed the boy's protective covering, two old men hold onto his arms and drop him into the ice hole as the priest submerges his head under the water three times. Definitely not the way I remember my baptism all those years ago!
Some Orthodox priests have also condemned this "ice baptism" tradition - which, according to some, can be traced back to pre-Christian pagan Russia. One clergyman, Fr Yakov Krotov, told the BBC that, "Christening, while being beneficial for the soul, does not have to be harmful for the body". It also appears that the practice is only sacramental in a small number of instances, as most of those who plunge into the icy waters do so as some kind of endurance test or rite of passage, without the sanction of the Church.
Since the fall of Communism, the Orthodox Church has experienced an enormous revival amongst the Russians. According to the BBC, "There is now no shortage of people of all ages, eager to fast during Lent, mark the resurrection at Easter with traditional bread, get married in church and christened in holy water." It also appears that the tradition of baptism by ice has also made a bit of a comeback - especially as many Russians, even those already baptised, think that sins are wiped away by this sometimes penitential ritual.
Some Russians also believe that being immersed in dangerously cold water at an early age will help children become immune to the effects of freezing weather. One the other hand, members of the medical profession warn that the opposite is true - as children could easily die from shock or hypothermia whilst being baptised in ice holes.