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Russia: Changing Time Zone in Primorsky Krai

Russia Time by Wikimedia Commons

A year ago Russian President Dmitry Medvedev brought up the idea of changing time zones in the regions of Russia. In his annual address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation he particularly stated [RUS] that by doing so a convenient co-existence of different regions and the capital would be achieved. Messages on this topic sprung up on news portals of Primorsky Krai several days ago.

In the meantime this is not entirely a novel idea. A year ago Gennadiy Lazarev, a member of the regional Legislative Assembly, provoked the same sort of discussion on the web. He suggested changing the time zone with the expectation of reducing the difference with Moscow from seven to four hours. These ideas did not get very far and nothing was changed. User NNN argued [RUS] that the protests of December 2008 – January 2009 [RUS] in Vladivostok became the reason for this proposal. The people went on the streets with Japanese flags [RUS] protesting against the ban on the right-sided steering wheel. When it all happened Moscow was still asleep and the governmental reaction was late.

On 17 November 2010, members of the Legislative Assembly of Primorsky Krai will discuss an initiative to change the time zone of the region, thus making it one hour closer to Moscow. It is particularly planned to prepare a proposal for Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister.

As news portal VL.ru reported [RUS], regional GovernorSergey Darkin [RUS] became an initiator of this idea. In the meantime netizens of Primorsky Krai were highly concerned about this decision as well as the fact that public opinion has been neglected.

Drom.ru, Far East automobile portal, became a useful platform for netizens not only to discuss the car-related issues but social and political ones as well. Global Voices has written about one of its successful campaigns.

This time Drom community did not ignore the issue of changing time zones either. User Jokky particularly pointed out [RUS] that the session of the Legislative Assembly would not take place in the usual location where everyone could come, but in a small room on the eighth floor where the public would not be allowed. In the meantime the official website of the Legislative Assembly refuted [RUS] the information, announcing that the session would take place in the assembly hall open for everyone. Other users suggested canceling winter or making the day longer since the Moscow decision-makers are all-mighty and local politicians are following their every move.

Information agency Deita.ru mentioned various advantages of this initiative. It would be comfortable for those doing shopping in bordering China. The time difference with this country and Primorsky Krai is three hours in Summer and two in Winter. China has only one time-zone and Deita.ru has expressed suspicion that soon the region will minimize its time difference with Moscow to four hours instead of the existing seven-hour difference. They suggest that the Chinese are not complaining and it would be much easier for the Kremlin to rule the country with this improvement.

User Seryi pointed out [RUS] the following:

Я сам уже не первый год являюсь представителем чиновничества. Должен сказать, что взаимодействие с центром совсем незначительно коррелирует с разницей в часовых поясах. Не часто, но случается получать утром такие указания из центрального ведомства, которые должны были быть выполнены еще вчера вечером или ночью. Но это случается так редко, что не может значительно дезорганизовать общую работу. С другой стороны, если центру очень нужно, то они всегда найдут и выдернут на работу любого чиновника, где- бы он не находился, но у нас на работе я могу припомнить только один такой случай за 10 лет. Так- что на мой взгляд проблема часовых поясов совершенно искуственно раздута.

I am a representative of officialdom, and not for the first year. I must say that the (Vladivostok's – GV) interaction with the center (Moscow – GV) only slightly correlates with the difference in time. Not often, but it happens sometimes, we get instructions from the center in the morning which were supposed to be executed the evening or night before. But it happens so rarely that it cannot significantly disrupt the overall work. On the other hand, if the center really needs it, then they will always find and pull in to work any bureaucrat, wherever he is, but at my work I can recall only one such case in 10 years. So, in my opinion the problem of time zones is completely artificially inflated.

Indeed, many local companies adapt to the Moscow time zone and stay extra hours at work. It has not been a big problem before, even during the time of the Soviet Union. User Ученик 5 класса [5th grade student] claimed[RUS] that all officials have failed geography at school and think that the earth is still flat. He suggested determining noon time by the sun and live by daylight time, like ancient people did.

User Алексей [Alexei] exclaimed [RUS]:

Блин, было бы смешно, если не было бы так грустно! У нас реально страна идиотов? ? ? Нет, всех я не считаю такими, но у инициаторов такой идеи и их приверженцев явно что- то с головой. Не устраивает время работы с Москвой – перенесите свой рабочий день на пару часов. Зачем всех мучить? […] Летом после работы можно было успеть на пляж, а теперь […] отработал летом и быстрее домой (пока не стемнело). Почему депутаты руководствуются не логикой и просьбами народа (они же, типа, ” народные депутаты” ), а меркантильными интересами чиновников?

Damn, it would be funny if it were not so sad! Are we really a country of idiots? ? ? No, I don't consider everyone to be so, but the initiators of such ideas and their supporters clearly have something wrong with their heads. It is not convenient to work with Moscow – then move your working day for a couple of hours. Why should everyone suffer? […] during the summer it was possible to make it to the beach after work, and now [… ] one has to work and then rush home before it gets dark. Why are MPs not guided by the logic and requests of the public (they are sort of “people's representatives”), but not the mercantile interests of the officials?

Probably these questions will be left unanswered. The online petition [RUS] against this measure has received more than 250 signatures so far. Nevertheless this amount of signatures is not enough, even though the activists are asking to hold a referendum regarding the time zone change.

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