Russia ends summer/winter time mayhem

43319.jpegRussia has canceled the move to winter time and will live by summer time all year round. Starting from the autumn of 2011, the country will abolish the rule to put its clocks one hour back - the practice that has been used in the country regularly for nearly 30 years.

"I have taken a decision to cancel the move to 'winter' time starting from autumn of the current year," RIA Novosti quoted President Dmitry Medvedev as saying.

Russia will move its time one hour forward at the end of March, together with the countries of Western Europe. In the autumn of 2011, when Europe puts its clocks one hour back again for winter time, Russia will still be living by summer time. The new rule will be put in effect for all Russian regions - from the European part of the country to the Far East.

The idea to refuse from time moves was originally voiced in the president's address to the Federal Assembly in 2009.

Winter and summer time practice exists in over 70 countries of the world. In Russia, clocks fall one hour back for winter time on October's last Sunday, at 3:00 a.m. local time. For summer time, clocks go one hour forward on last Sunday of March.

Time games in Russia, just like transformation of chronology, are always connected with turmoils. Anyone who is familiar with the Russian history of the 20th century will see the interconnection between time moves and quiet or grand revolutions that were taking place in the country.

It is hard to understand what made the Interim Government conduct experiments with time under the conditions of war, political instability and shortage of food. On July 1, 1917, in accordance with the Interim Government's decree about summer time, clocks were put one hour forward.

Another decree followed after the October Revolution from the Council of People's Commissars.

"At certain moment, namely on December 27, 1917, at 12:00 a.m. of July 1, Petrograd time, all clocks across Russia shall be put one hour back. Thus, the clocks showing Petrograd time will show 11:00 p.m. of Petrograd civil time," Comrade Lenin wrote.

It just so happens that even Bolsheviks found some sense in moving time, even though they had just come to power in Petrograd and established control over a tiny territory of the country only.

From 1918 to 1930 (Civil War, military communism, Red Terror, New Economic Policy) time would be moved twice a year. In accordance with the governmental decree from June 16, 1930 (fortified building of socialism, collectivization, industrialization) the hands of all clocks on the territory of the Soviet Union were moved one hour forward again. However, clocks did not fall back afterwards. The country began to live one hour ahead of astronomical time.

Summer time was put back in force on April 1, 1981 (the unofficial start of perestroika, the XXVI Congress of the Communist Party). The decree from the Council of Ministers ordered to move clocks one hour forward in relation to all-year summer time that had been in effect since 1930. Thus, the Russian summer time turned out to be two hours ahead of the zone time. For 30 years afterwards, the country started moving its clocks back and forth as it was happening during 1918-1930.

In February of 1991, the Cabinet of Minister of the USSR ordered to abolish standard time on the entire territory of the Soviet Union. However, on October 23 of 1991, the Supreme Council decided to retrieve standard time on the territory of Russia. Do we have to mention the events that took place between those two dates?

It seems that this back-and-forth mayhem will finally end in Russia. In March of 2010, Russia ran the first time reform during the recent 30 years. In accordance with Dmitry Medvedev's decision to reduce the number of time zones in Russia, several regions changed their previous time zones. The 11th time zone does not exist in the country anymore.

In March of this year, the country will move its clocks one hour forward in relation to relatively normal time. There are no plans to go back in time again, although, as experience shows, everything is possible.

All those manipulations with time are based on economic reasons. According to Russia's Ministry for Energy, the time-moving practice saves nearly 0.1-03 percent of electric power consumed in the country. There is no other statistics of energy consumption, although some experts believe that there is no use switching between winter and summer time under extremely short daylight hours in Russia. It does not reduce the consumption of electricity at all, they claim.

One should bear in mind the fact that it is industry and transport that consume electric power most. One-hour jumps between winter and summer time are not relevant for them at all. If a metallurgic enterprise, for example, replaced several of its ovens with energy-saving equipment, it would save a lot more energy than what millions of people could save twice a year.

Moving the clock back and forth triggers many negative consequences for people healthwise. It particularly causes desynchronosis of bodily rhythms, which undermines people's health and sun-dependent activity.

Vitaly Salnik

Read the original in Russian

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov