Update: The Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk time zones have not yet been merged. On March 27, 2011, Irkutsk switched to Daylight Saving Time along with the rest of Russia and is still 5 hours ahead of Moscow.
It is expected that the Irkutsk region will join the Krasnoyarsk time zone at a later date.
The Russian government approved the switch for the Irkutsk region to move its time zone to the Krasnoyarsk region on Sunday, March 27, in 2011. Irkustsk will not move its clocks and keep its current time, while many regions in Russia will move their clocks one hour forward for the last time on Sunday, March 27, 2011.
Closer Time to Moscow
The Irkutsk region is currently 5 hours ahead of Moscow or eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+8). Most of Russia will move their clocks one hour forward when daylight saving time (DST) begins for the last time on Sunday, March 27, 2011. The Irkutsk region will not move their clocks during this transition in order to move to the Krasnoyarsk time zone (UTC+7), which is 4 hours ahead of Moscow.
Russia abolished the switch back to winter time (standard time) in 2011, thus making daylight saving time the new standard time in Russia.
Mixed Feelings on Switching Time Zones
The proposal to switch Irkutsk Time (IRKT) to Krasnoyarsk Time (KRAT) was first introduced in November 2010. Many protested against the transition to the new time zone because they believed that it will adversely affect the health of the residents in the Irkutsk region.
Meanwhile, scientists supported the transition because they believe that the current standard time does not correspond to people’s natural biological time and that the transition to the new time zone will benefit the residents of Irkutsk. Moreover, physicians state that reducing the time difference with Moscow will not have any adverse effects on the health of the residents.
Russia’s Time Reform
Russia abolished the time zones of four Russian regions, thus reducing the number of time zones in Russia from 11 to 9 in March 2010. According to Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s time zones may be further reduced in the future. However, these plans will require government officials and scientists to examine the consequences of the time reform.
Currently, Buryatia (Ulan-Ude) didn't receive the approval from the government to switch time zones so they will change their clocks with the rest of Russia on Sunday, March 27, in 2011. timeanddate.com will provide updates on the time zone reform in Russia when more information becomes available.