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    Russia may drop two time zones by end of March

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    Russia may drop two time zones when it switches to daylight saving time on March 28.

    Russia may drop two time zones when it switches to daylight saving time on March 28.

    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).

    The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade recently approved a draft plan to move the Samara Region and the Republic of Udmurtia, which are currently one hour ahead of Moscow, into the capital's time zone. The ministry also plans to move Chukotka and Kamchatka, two regions in the Russian Far East, into the Magadan time zone (+8) to make them one hour closer to Moscow time.

    The move would reduce the number of time zones in Russia from 11 to 9, making the time difference between Kaliningrad and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky only 9 hours.

    Deputies in the Russian Far East have endorsed the project, saying it would improve the nation's biological rhythm, resilience and working efficiency.

    President Dmitry Medvedev proposed reducing the number of time zones in Russia and scrapping daylight saving time during his annual state of the nation speech in November 2009.

    He argued that multiple time zones created difficulties in uniting a country of Russia's size and pointed to the United States and China, other large countries which effectively cope with fewer time zones.

    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.

    MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti)

     

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