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13 Mar, 2009 09:32

Siberians choose time zone of their own

Siberians choose time zone of their own

Russia’s Siberian Kemerovo region wants to change its time zone to be one hour closer to Moscow. The initiative is said to facilitate locals’ lives in dealing with neighbouring areas belonging to a different time zone.

The initiative comes from sociologists who conducted a poll among the residents of the area.

The survey reveals 41% support the idea of changing the time zone, 28% consider such a move pointless, while one-third of respondents have no particular stance on the issue.

Kemerovo region is one of the few western Siberian areas that are four hours ahead of Moscow. This norm has been in place since the 1960s.

Fact box

What time is it?

A time zone is a region of the earth with uniform standard (local) time calculated as an offset from UTC/GMT.

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. GMT is defined by the rotation of the Earth, which is not constant in rate.

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is a time standard based on a uniform time scale (International Atomic Time, or TAI) with leap seconds added at irregular intervals to compensate for the Earth's slowing rotation. It was introduced on January 1, 1972, so that local times correspond approximately to mean solar time.

The terms GMT and UTC are normally used interchangeably when referring to a time zone.

MSK (Moscow time) is UTC/GMT +3 in winter and UTC/GMT +4 in summer.

Neighboring Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Altay regions have recently returned to a 3 hour time difference from Moscow, saying it corresponds to natural time.

Economists say the change would be an advantage for Kemerovo businessmen dealing with their partners from the neighboring areas.

“The longitude Kemerovo is located on differs slightly from that of Tomsk. It will be more logical to have the same time in both regions,” believes Vladimir Shabashev from Kemerovo State University.

While Kemerovo officials say it would be easier for people to live in the same time zone as their neighbors since many have relatives and friends there.

Local lawmakers have voted for the shift and it is now up to the parliament to adopt the initiative.

If it is implemented the Kemerovo region will be the only one in Russia not to switch to summer time on March 29.