Russia is the largest country in the world. From east to west, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, it stretches over 9,000 km! You can easily understand that in order to cover such a distance, several time zones are necessary. Currently, Russia has 11 time zones, knowing that the world has 24 of them in total.
However, Russia has not always counted as many time zones. Indeed, in 2009, the 11 time zones were reduced to 9. The reason? The mandated Russian president that year, Dmitry Medvedev, had the will to solve bureaucratic problems and bring the Russians closer together by removing 2 time zones. For instance, it had the advantage for companies to facilitate communication between head office and subsidiaries. The result of this measurement had to improve the country’s coordination.
Technically, how did it go? The regions on the Pacific coast, Chukotka and Kamchatka, have been attached to the Magadan’s time zone which has 8 hours of lag with Moscow and not 9 anymore. At the other end of the country, the regions of Samara and the Republic of Udmurtia entered the Moscow time zone whereas before they counted 1 hour less than the capital.
In 2014, Russia returned to 11 time zones following the population’s demand. While in most countries of the world the time is based on the UTC (Universal Time Coordinated), in Russia the reference time has often been Moscow and the designated time zones MSK+1, etc. Fun fact: since the 1st of August 2018, trains in Russia leave at local time and no longer at Moscow time. Up until now, stations and tickets have been displaying the time of the capital throughout the country, even when they were located on another time zones. We imagine that many trains were missed due to errors in time calculation!
That same year, in 2014, concerning summer time and winter time, Russia has made the choice to stay in the winter time and not to change twice a year. This decision was taken in response to complaints from Russians who could not adapt to the time change.
Finally, to quote the French writer and traveller Sylvain Tesson, if “The free man owns time and the man who controls space is powerful”… Thereby, how can we describe Russia knowing that it controls both space and time?