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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Since Stalin, the Times They Aren't a' Changing

While most people Russia have figured out by now that clocks were supposed to be set one hour forward Sunday to summer time, many may not realize that the country has been a full hour ahead of where it should be for much of the past 67 years.


"If anybody were to search for something authentic belonging to Stalin's era, that would be time," said Viktor Kucherov of the Federal Standardization Committee's Time and Standard Frequencies Commission.


After the Soviet Union's clocks were set to summer time in 1930, he said, the government decided simply to leave things that way and stay on daylight saving time indefinitely.


Kucherov said the country decided to reintroduce summer time in 1981 in the belief that it would help the increasingly ailing economy. So in the spring of that year, the Soviet Union set its clocks forward an hour without bothering to "fall back" to the pre-1930 winter time.


In essence, that means Russia is perpetually one hour ahead of where it should be in relation to most other countries.


Things across the former Soviet Union have become even more complex since the Soviet collapse in 1991. Some republics like Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states have returned to their original time zones.


Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, meanwhile, have resolved not to use summer time at all, a decision Kucherov said was based on economics. In their latitudes, the Central Asian states found an artificial switch to daylight saving time an inconvenience.


"They are simply trying to avoid the midday heat," Kucherov said.


This year brought yet another time adjustment when Ukraine passed a law ordering the disputed Crimea to switch to Ukrainian time. Until last Sunday, time in Crimea coincided with Russia, but now it is synchronized with the rest of Ukraine.


That hasn't pleased those on the peninsula who would prefer to maintain ties with Mother Russia. Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, commander of the Black Sea Fleet, complained that the change would complicate communication between the Russian fleet and the civil authorities on the peninsula, Itar-Tass reported.


Daylight saving time was first introduced in Britain in 1908 to provide more useful daylight hours in the afternoon and evening. In 1917, Russia's provisional government brought the concept to Russia. More than 60 countries worldwide have since adopted summer time, which has proved to be an energy-saving measure, Kucherov said. It generally is not used in equatorial countries, however, nor in regions close to Earth's poles.