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Plan Announced to Reduce Russia’s Time Zones

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Published 13-Nov-2009. Changed 14-Dec-2009

Update: A draft bill was recently submitted to the State Duma. The bill proposes to abolish daylight saving time in Russia. timeanddate.com will provide more updates as they become available.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev wants to reduce the number of time zones across the country to improve the nation’s economy. In an address to the Federal Assembly on November 12, 2009, the president expressed the need to cut down time zones in Russia for economic efficiency.  He also brought up the subject of daylight saving time (DST) in Russia.

In addition, a parliamentary member has introduced a draft law to get rid of daylight saving time. MP Vasily Zakharyashchev introduced the bill, known as “On the transition of Russia to Standard Time” in the State Duma on Friday, November 13, 2009. The bill aims to abolish daylight saving time in Russia.

Russia currently has 11 time zones ranging from its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad in Europe to Kamchatka in the Far East. The most recent change to Russia’s time zones will apply on March 28, 2010, when Russia’s Kemerovo region adopts its new time zone.

Spaskaya tower of Moscow Kremlin

Russia may have fewer time zones in the future.

©iStockphoto.com/Peter Kirillov

President Wants Time Zone Change

President Medvedev said to the Federal Assembly that it was necessary to consider reducing the number of time zones across Russia but one would need to consider the consequences of such a decision. “Russia, which stretches across 11 time zones, is designed to be a key link in the global information infrastructure,” he said (cited in the president’s message to the Federal Assembly on November 12, 2009, from the Kremlin’s website).

President Medvedev said that there was a traditional pride for the number of time zones in Russia because it illustrated the country’s greatness with regard to size and diversity. However, he questioned if the time zone differences could impact on efficiently managing the country and the use of technology.

He referred to countries such as the United States and China as examples of how geographically large countries have less time zones. “This is a great country. It is necessary to consider the possibility of reducing the number of time zones. Of course, one must calculate all the consequences of such a decision,” President Medvedev said.

The president also brought up the subject of daylight saving time (DST) and standard time. He said that there was a need to compare all the benefits and disadvantages of observing DST. He also hoped that specialists would look into the matter and provide objective responses to questions raised about such matters.

Federation Council Chair Sergei Mironov responded to the president’s speech, commenting on the negative effects associated with DST, particularly with regard to health and the economy. He also said he was glad that the president outlined the problem. Mr Mironov said that the president’s objectives for the country were important and were to be taken seriously.  He also noted that as a decisions based on previous messages from the head of state were carried out almost entirely.

Russia and the Soviet Union (which was founded in 1917) gradually adopted the 11 time zones from 1919 to 1924. Russia starts and ends DST on the same dates as the European Union (EU). Russia starts DST on the last Sunday of March and ends it on the last Sunday of October. timeanddate.com will provide updates about the proposal to reduce time zones in Russia and possibly review its daylight saving schedule.

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