On February 8, 1919, the USSR adopted the standard zone time and the government’s order divided the Soviet Union into 11 time zones.
Before the October Revolution, the solar time, based on the exact latitude of each place, was adopted in Russia. It was inconvenient, because even the neighboring regions could not synchronize their clocks and, for example, start the working day simultaneously. In addition, the railroad stations all over the country had been using St. Petersburg time, even though some of them were situated in Siberia or the Far East.
Standard time is based on the division of the globe at 24 time zones longitudinally. The local time in two adjoining zones differs by one hour. The borders of the zones coincide not with the meridians, but with the borders of regions, so the width of the time zones differs from country to country. For example, China is considered one time zone, though it actually lies in five of them. Because Russia lies in 11 time zones, Russians celebrate the New Year 11 times – the Far East celebrates first, while Kaliningrad is last.
In 1919, only the Soviet Navy used the time zones, but because of technical difficulties, the whole country started to use it in 1924.
In 1930, the clocks all over the country were set forward for an hour. This new change was made to working hours to the daylight time and to save electricity. In addition, in 1981, daylight saving time – or summer time – was adopted for the same purpose. Russian people started to set the clocks forward for one hour in summer and set them back in the autumn. From that year on, in winter, Russian time is one hour different from standard, and in summer – two hours different.
Some scientists say that daylight saving causes more harm than good. Twice a year people have to get used to a new daily routine, and this change affects their health, attention span and working capacity. In these periods of the year, the number of car crashes grows, as does the number of train crashes. Moreover, the number of suicides increases by 66% and the number of heart attacks increases by 1.5 times. Some farmers refuse to set their clock back and forth, because the change in time is stressful on the cattle.
In the tropical regions, day and night have the same length, so summer time is not necessary. In the Polar Regions, days and nights are half-a-year long.
Some military objects and Mission Control Centers do not use summer time – the changes in schedule can cause problems with their equipment. Space stations use standard zone time, and the navigation satellites work according to their own schedule.
In 2008, measurements were taken, and the percentage of electricity saved by summer time appears to be not as big as expected. Nowadays, the necessity of daylight saving time is considered questionable, but the government has no plans of abolishing it.