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Medvedev refuses to return winter time

February 08, 2013, 11:41 UTC+3

The prime minister said that he would continue to monitor the views of citizens, doctors and experts

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday spoke against the transfer to permanent winter time in the country. According to him, the number of opponents and supporters of the return to winter time is about the same today. Nevertheless, this decision is not final. The prime minister said that he would continue to monitor the views of citizens, doctors and experts.

“The government considers another adjustment in the current period inexpedient,” the Novye Izvestia newspaper quotes Medvedev. The head of government explained his position by the fact that the number of supporters and opponents of the return of winter time is currently about the same. He also noted that the decision taken on Thursday is not final, recalling that over the past hundred years the time calculation procedure in Russia has been changed about seven times: “We will continue further monitoring, analyse again the opinions of experts, doctors, citizens, will weigh all the pros and cons, but so far will preserve the existing order.”

Dmitry Medvedev also said that a number of members of the State Duma lower house of parliament have already approached him with a proposal for the return of either the permanent winter time or the earlier procedure of clock adjustment for daylight saving time and back twice a year. Medvedev said that the decision to transfer to the permanent summer time was adopted in 2011, “after a careful study of its possible effects on the people, regions and economy,” which is why the country should not hurry to give it up.

Daylight saving time in Russia is two hours ahead of astronomical time, the Novye Izvestia newspaper recalls. As a result, many people complain of chronic lack of sleep, because they have to get up before dawn and start the workday. Now the opponents of permanent daylight saving time (summer time) have got one more argument. RF Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has recently received a letter from the head of the Coordination Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jean-Claude Killy. In his letter he asked the Russian deputy prime minister to consider the transition of the country to winter time, as it will be easier for Europeans to watch TV broadcasts of the next year’s Olympic Games in Sochi in winter time. Now time difference between Russia and most of Europe is three hours.

The IOC will be informed of the decision, and European fans will have to accept the fact that they will have to watch the Russian competitions in the night-time, RF Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, who is quoted by the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, said after a meeting of the RF government. It is his ministry that is responsible for the monitoring “of what is best for the country - winter, summer time or seasonal time change.” The results of the study turned out to be controversial. The RF Ministry of Industry has received from many regions news about excess incidence rate after the cancellation of winter time and a simultaneous small economic effect. The State Duma Committee on Healthcare, referring to figures from the Health Ministry and the electorate appeals, also confirmed the news about the deterioration of the population’s health in at least 29 regions of the country.

Vladimir Putin, speaking at a conference in December 2012, also mentioned the fact that there are more those who are dissatisfied with Medvedev’s decision than those who are satisfied. However, data (although not fresh) of the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) rather prove that the current prime minister is right: only 31 percent of those polled are ready to return to seasonal time. The number of those who would like to live all year round in winter time (26 percent) or summer time (28 percent) is almost equal.

At any rate, Medvedev has coordinated this controversial issue with Putin, Denis Manturov said. The president agreed to suffer the discomfort further for a definite reason: it is clear that the cancellation of Medvedev’s decision, which he defended so ardently, would not add any good points to his image.


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