Local MPs vote against daylight saving regime in Russia

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KEMEROVO, March 28 (RIA Novosti) - Local parliamentarians in the Kemerovo Region, southern part of western Siberia, have appealed to the government to abolish the daylight time saving regime in Russia, which they claim is harmful to people's health.

On March 25 Russia switched to Daylight Saving Time, turning the clocks forward one hour at 2:00 a.m., local time. Russia changes to daylight saving time on the same date as Europe, moving clocks forward one hour on the last weekend in March and back one hour on the last weekend in October. The first recorded time change in Russia was in 1917.

Daylight Saving Time is practiced in every European country except Iceland, as well as in many other countries around the world, to make better use of daylight hours for the purpose of saving energy.

However, critics of the time change say that it is harmful to health.

"The time switch in winter and summer negatively influences the health of Russians, especially Siberian people, who live in tough weather conditions", said the chairman of the Social Policy Committee in the Kemerovo Region Nina Zinkevich. She also said that time change may potentially lead to chronic diseases, reduced working efficiency and harm the immune system, increasing mortality rate and risks for hypertensive patients.

At the same time Russia's electricity monopoly RAO UES said that in 2007 Russia saved 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to provide 10,000 apartments with electricity for eight years.

Russia's deputy chairman of the State Duma's Health Protection Committee Nikolai Gerasimenko agreed Wednesday with his counterparts in the Kemerovo Region, saying that the economic advantage of daylight saving regime is yet to be proven, and only a third of world countries practice such time changes.

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