MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) -Early on Sunday Russia has turned its clocks back one hour switching to permanent "winter" time and ending the three-year experiment of living on permanent "summer time." No seasonal time change is envisaged from now on.
The experiment began in November 2009 when Russia's then-President Dmitry Medvedev first proposed to decrease the number of time zones in the country. According to Medvedev, his initiative was based on a number of studies that showed the daylight saving time switch puts an unnecessary strain on public health.
In October 2011 Russians turned their clocks one hour ahead, switching to the so-called "summer time" (Greenwich Mean Time plus four hours for Moscow), introduced in 1981 in USSR.
The reform received mixed reactions, as many complained about feeling tired and not getting enough sleep. In the morning children had to go to school or kindergarten in darkness.
The polls by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) showed that while in February, 2011, 73 percent of Russians favored the permanent summer time, in the Fall of 2011 only 32 percent supported the reform.
Deputies of the Russian State Duma repeatedly attempted to raise the issue of switching back to winter time. A bill to set Russian clocks permanently to winter time has been submitted to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament in January 2014 and approved on July 1. On July 9 the new law was approved by the Russian Federation Council and on July 22 – signed by Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
On October 26 at 02:00 a.m. local time most of the Russian regions set their clocks back one hour, increasing the number of time-zones in Russia from 9 to 11. Russia's new regions, Crimea and Sevastopol belong to Moscow time zone.
Doctors say the switch will positively affect the health of Russians, however it will take about two weeks for people to adapt to a new regime.
The transition affected the timetable for flights and trains but major companies including the flagship Russian carrier Aeroflot and Russian Railways (RZD) have informed their passengers of these changes well in advance.