Russia removes two timezones

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Russian government has decided to remove two of its eleven timezones, in the country's first step towards time reform, first started by president Dmitry Medvedev last November.

The affected regions were Chukotka and Kamchatka, the easternmost provinces of Russia; and Samara and Udmurtia, which are now on Moscow time. Each of these regions was moved back an hour. Kemerovo was also moved back an hour, but this did not eliminate a time zone.

The changes were implemented on Saturday night, when most of the country was due to put their country ahead for summer time; however, affected areas instead didn't change their clocks at all.

"It's possible that this could also aid the strengthening of Russia's position as a link in the global information infrastructure," Medvedev remarked earlier this month.

"Reducing of amount of time zones is very efficient for managing, for accordance of actions, for approximation of far regions to the center," commented Arkady Tishkov, who is a deputy science director of Geography Institution for the Russian Academy of Sciences. Tishkov speculated that the number of time zones could eventually be reduced to six.

Meanwhile, an online petition has been posted opposing the time change for the Samara province, and it has garnered close to 13,000 signatures. "Trips take place to many regions of the country and world where time, you understand, far from always corresponds with Moscow," the text of the petition read, adding that "[i]n the winter, darkness will come almost at lunchtime, which isn't convenient and is psychologically quite hard."