Russia’s time zones to get squashed

Deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov wants to compress the Far East’s three time zones into one.

The proposal is part of President Medvedev’s plan to cut the span of Russia’s time zones from eleven hours to nine.

Shuvalov also suggest bringing both the Primorye and Irkustk regions an hour closer to Moscow.

Irkutsk would then be four hours ahead of Moscow rather than five, while Primorye and Yakutia would both be six hours ahead of the capital.

If approved, the changes will take effect on October 30.

Back in February 2011, President Medvedev announced that Russia will not come off daylight saving time starting from this autumn. Medvedev argued that switching clocks twice a year is harmful to people’s health and triggers stress.

The move means that Moscow and St. Petersburg will stay at GMT+4 hours all year round, instead of reverting to GMT+3 for the winter period. Mid-winter sunrise in Moscow will therefore occur at around 10am, with an even later daybreak for the northern capital.

The daylight saving system has long been the subject of discussion. Medvedev first suggested considering its abolition back in November 2009, which was followed by massive studies of the subject.

The report published by Russian Academy of Medical Sciences revealed that when the clocks are changed, the number of heart attacks increases by 1.5 times, the rate of suicides grows by 66 per cent, and many more people call the ambulance service.

The Academy said that the effect was the biggest on children and elderly people, who experienced stress, sleep disorders, cardiovascular, immune and metabolism problems.

The daylight saving time idea was put forward back in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson. Nowadays, 110 out of 192 countries adjust their clocks twice a year. Iceland is the only exception in Europe. Russia started to use daylight saving time in 1981.

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