Russia is the country with the largest Arctic area. Its entire northern coastal region from Murmansk to Uelen is considered a part of the Arctic. This means also that Russia also includes the most number of time zones, 9 until now. But times are a changing, also in Russia, not just literally. Because the Russian parliament has discussed a time reform and has issued new laws for this.

Russia will be divided into 11 time zones instead of 9 only. When people in Moscow start with breakfast, the inhabitants of Chukotka in the east will go to bed.
Russia will be divided into 11 time zones instead of 9 only. When people in Moscow start with breakfast, the inhabitants of Chukotka in the east will go to bed.

Like Bob Dylan’s sings in his number one hit “The Times They are a changin”, also in Russia the time doesn’t stop, but becomes a parliamentary business. The State Duma approved in its final reading on Tuesday the law “On computation of time” – to switch the clock on October 26 to permanent winter time. The move will grant northerners one hour earlier daylight during the dark season mid-winter compared with last winter. It was then-President Dmitry Medvedev that introduced permanent fixed summer time in 2011. For cross-border travelers between Norway and Russia in the north, the challenges appeared difficult. The land-border between the two countries became the only in Europe with a three hour time difference during the time of the year when other European countries changed to daylight savings. Commenting on the confusing time-change and people’s lack of day-light, Vladimir Putin said the year after “Something might not have been thought through.” The lawmakers in the State Duma argued that permanent summer time had caused increased stress and had a detrimental effect on the public’s health. It was also the Duma’s Committee of Healthcare that issued the recommendation to endorse the permanent winter time bill.

Uelen is the easternmost town in Russia. It is situated at the Bering Strait
Uelen is the easternmost town in Russia. It is situated at the Bering Strait

With permanent winter time, the difference in time on the Norwegian, Russian border will be two hours in winter and only one hour during summer when Norwegians are on daylight savings time. On the Finnish, Russian border, there will be no time difference during summer, and one hour difference during winter.

At the same time as Russia turns back the clocks, the easternmost time zone will be reintroduced, nine hours ahead of Moscow time. In total, Russia will then have 11 time zones, from Kaliningrad in the west to Chukotka region in the northeast.

Quelle: Thomas Nilsen, Barents Observer, barentsobserver.com