Russia could unite the Urals and Siberian time zones as part of a project to slash the time difference across the country's vast territory, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday.
Russia currently has 11 time zones, spanning a vast territory from the western exclave of Kaliningrad (-1 Moscow time) to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Far East (+9 Moscow time).
"This proposal was approved by experts, who consider the innovation would make government management more efficient," Medvedev said, adding that the move would be beneficial for the regions' economies and agriculture.
However, Medvedev stressed that more research needed to be carried out.
"I believe we should take into account the arguments of the regions and act strictly in favor of our residents," he said
Medvedev has already approved a project reducing the amount of time zones in Russia from 11 to 9. On March 28 the Samara Region and the Republic of Udmurtia, which are currently one hour ahead of Moscow, will move into the capital's time zone. Chukotka and Kamchatka, two regions in the Russian Far East, will move into the Magadan time zone (+8) to be one hour closer to Moscow time.
Daylight saving time was introduced in the Soviet Union to reduce energy consumption by making the most of longer days in summer. Russia changes to and from daylight saving time on the same dates as Europe, moving clocks forward one hour on the last Sunday of March and back one hour on the last Sunday of October.
GORKI, March 24 (RIA Novosti)