Rebellion of the machines over time switch in Russia

Fiddling with time - never a dull moment | Photo from
A presidential decree abolishing the autumn switch from Daylight Saving Time has been disobeyed by digital devices all over the country, resulting in widespread chaos. On the bright side, it is now always “summer time” in Russia.

­The last Sunday of October is the date when most European countries switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.

This year Russia, for the first time in 30 years, did not follow suit (although technically it used to be the West that followed suit, as 2am – the usual switch hour – happens first in Russia).

The result is that the time difference between Moscow and European countries has increased by an hour (GMT+4).

­A law unto themselves

­One entity that failed to note the change was the automatic update service to mobile devices and personal computers. Many of those switched the time all the same.

Abolishing the autumn time switch – one of President Dmitry Medvedev’s most controversial ideas – was finalized in February 2010 with a decree. Health considerations were cited as the main reason behind the move.

A 2008 Swedish study has indeed shown a 5 per cent increase in the number of heart attacks during the first three weekdays following the autumn time switch.

The US have their own schedule of shifting to Standard Time, which this year will happen on November 6 (the month’s first Sunday).

Some 80 other countries still observe the time change, though many question its justification and have come up with other ways to tinker with time.

For example, the UK is considering a move to Central European Time for a trial period of three years starting in 2012, aiming to cut road deaths, boost tourism and reduce energy consumption.