Russia was divided into 11 time zones in 1919. Daylight saving time was in effect until 1930. Then the hands of the clock moved forward one hour. This is how the country lived until 1981, when they began to switch to "summer" and "winter" time. Thus, daylight saving time was already two hours ahead of the standard time. "Swing" with the transfer of arrows twice a year was canceled in 2011 - the country remained in summer time.
The Volgograd region lived in a different time zone from the Moscow time zone until 1989. Then the Volgograd residents moved to the capital. However, in 2014, at the federal level, there was another change of arrows - then the eternal summer time was replaced by the eternal winter time, and many regions found themselves in a “foreign” time zone.
The Astrakhan and Saratov regions, for example, decided to return to their comfortable time zone (UTC + 4) back in 2016. The Volgograd Region decided to act in 2018. In order to move the arrows, a full-fledged referendum was held in the region. Then 58.82% were in favor of switching to local time. However, a day after switching to "their" time zone - in October 2018, Volgograd residents wanted to return to Moscow time again. The controversy is still ongoing. Moreover, many who previously played for the Volgograd time changed their minds.
“There was confusion about the change in the time zone. Devices show different times. It is difficult to calculate the flight schedule, there are difficulties in synchronizing the work of organizations with the Moscow head offices. Meteo-dependent people began to feel worse. The main purpose of the transition to the "Volgograd time" was to increase daylight hours. However, as everyone returned home from work in the dark, and will continue to return, we do not win anything, ”says the petition, which appeared the day after the change to local time.
“Throughout the Volgograd Region, wherever I meet people, the question of time always arises. I met with the parents of schoolchildren - they complain that children get up early, do not get enough sleep, go to school in the dark, and this is a safety issue. I met with representatives of the business community who have close ties with the Krasnodar Territory, Rostov Region, Moscow, St. Petersburg - they have difficulties due to the time difference. Industrial enterprises have a similar history. Time passed, and people began to look at this situation a little differently”, - said Governor of the Volgograd Region Andrey Bocharov in March 2020.
To resolve the issue, the authorities again decided to find out the opinion of residents, but not with the help of a referendum, but with the help of a survey, the organization of which was spent 10 million rubles. It took place on the same day as the vote on amendments to the Russian Constitution - July 1, 2020. Then 65.74% of Volgograd residents chose Moscow time.
Since the difference in votes was more than 10%, the people's deputies "launched" the transition to Moscow time. The Volgograd Regional Duma introduced a bill on changing the time zone to the State Duma at the end of August this year. The issue is already being considered - the initiative was supported by the State Duma Committee on Health Protection. Suggestions and comments on the bill on the transfer of arrows will be collected by October 20. The State Duma will make the final decision on the Volgograd time in November.
Meanwhile, opponents of Moscow time are trying to defend the time zone in force in the Volgograd region in court. However, on September 21, the Central District Court of Volgograd terminated the administrative proceedings, since only an officially adopted law can be challenged, and not the draft law under consideration. The judge concluded that at the moment the initiative to transfer the shooters cannot violate the rights of the plaintiffs, according to Novosti Volgograda.
“During the poll, all conditions for falsification were created. This is a special operation to kill local time , ”say supporters of the Volgograd time zone.
But the struggle is not over, the activists of the Volgogradskoe Vremya community believe. By the end of the week, they plan to collect signatures in support of the current time zone.
It should be noted that opponents of Moscow time have already sent a 5.5 kilogram parcel with 18 thousand signatures to Russian President Vladimir Putin. In their appeal, the authors complain that the Volgograd Region has a very hot summer, so many prefer to work from 6 am, but when they return to Moscow time, by 9-10 am they will become uncomfortable to work. In addition, the loss of daylight hours in the evening will destroy leisure, the signatories believe.
A group of activists supporting the return of the Volgograd region to the Moscow time zone struck back at supporters of the local time. At the end of August, they demanded to invalidate the results of the 2018 referendum, according to which the region moved to the UTC + 4 time zone. Nevertheless, the last word rests with the State Duma.
Meanwhile, in the Nizhny Novgorod region, the question of the transfer of watches also periodically arises. Now the region lives according to Moscow time. But his opponents, just like in Volgograd, believe that when they switch to the UTC + 4 time zone, residents will be able to lead an active lifestyle for one hour longer during daylight hours. “Eyesight deteriorates due to the lack of direct sunlight, in the dark people do not see anything at all. It became very dangerous on the roads in the dark. We are afraid for our loved ones on dark evenings. Too early twilight causes depression, ”the website of the Russian Public Initiative reported.
At the same time, opponents of Moscow time in both regions refer to the research of Rospotrebnadzor, which states that the UTC + 4 time zone is more acceptable for these subjects.
However, the authorities of the Nizhny Novgorod region have not yet brought the issue up for public discussion. We add that the current head of the region Gleb Nikitin, while still the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, in charge of the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology, in May 2013 sent a letter to the State Duma that summer time is “the most favorable for mental health people". The ministry has monitored and found that the transition to winter time will lead to "an extremely sharp reduction in the daylight hours effectively used by the population after the end of the working day from 18 to 23 hours." However, since 2014 the country has been living in winter time.
So what time zone is it good to live in? Representatives of the public movement "Volga Region - Moscow time!", Advocating the return of the Volgograd region to the UTC + 3 time zone, conducted a study back in 2017, which showed that there is simply no ideal time in terms of the health of citizens. However, chronologists and biologists have come to the conclusion that Moscow time is still the lesser of evils: it does not influence well-being as much as the local time.
According to Konstantin Danilenko, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Deputy Director for Scientific and Clinical Work of the Research Institute of Physiology and Fundamental Medicine, neither Moscow nor local time will suit everyone without exception. However, living “in Moscow” is still more useful, since it is closer to the true astronomical noon. The expert, referring to the works of Russian and foreign scientists, believes that the state of health of the residents of the regions who have “pushed” their time zone forward by an hour is generally worse than that of those who continue to live “the old fashioned way”.
At the same time, Olga Kolesnikova, a lecturer at the Volgograd Planetarium, believes that now the region is not in its own time zone. “The best arbiter in disputes over what time is better to live is, of course, the sun. If you come to our astronomical site on a clear day, when the star is at its zenith, you will see that the hands of our ordinary watches show not 12, but 13 o'clock, ”she said.
VolGTU professor Igor Belskikh, in order to please everyone, generally suggested moving the clock forward half an hour. “Let's do it like in India. Let's translate the clock by half an hour. Astronomical time. Then there will be no more reason to spend budget money. It will be known to everyone in the Volgograd time, plus politicians and local patriotism will grow”, - he said.
Semyon Rapoport, Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Chronobiology and Chronomedicine Problem Commission of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, told Novy Izvestia that any time has its drawbacks, but the regions should still focus on the winter . However, exceptions are possible. He believes that if residents themselves cannot come to a definite decision, then the authorities should act, having studied all the pros and cons. In any case, the decision must be justified.
What do the authorities think? Sergei Matantsev, editor-in-chief of the Novosti Volgograda newspaper, in a conversation with Novye Izvestia, noted that the regional authorities had distanced themselves from the disputes and took a position: we are as a people.
At the same time, he believes that the Volgograd residents themselves act from the opposite. “We lived according to Moscow time, and those who were against it came to the referendum and voted. First of all, they put pressure on the light characteristics of the day - at about three o'clock in the morning, the light was already hitting the eyes. Opponents said - buy curtains, hang roller shutters, and the problem will go away. Now they lived according to local time, and supporters of Moscow time became more active - then they were satisfied with the time, so they did not go to vote. And now the business has felt what it means to live differently from Moscow. Those who travel also experience inconvenience. Also, not all TV channels have been reorganized for our time. In addition, various sports matches do not shift in time at all, they are broadcast live. Some matches of the Europa League, for example, according to our time, started at 1 am. The football fans, of whom there are many in our city, were very unhappy with this. Everything is made up of these small interest groups”, - says Matantsev.
According to him, in the Volgograd region, it is generally accepted that the more active part of the population favors Moscow time, and those who stay at home - for the local time.
“You just have to agree and come to a common denominator. In general, they say that the option that would reconcile everyone in Volgograd is to return to winter-summer time. If we were left with Moscow time in winter and Volgograd time in summer, it would be an ideal option”, - said Matantsev.