[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Wed Apr 1 18:28:22 UTC 2015

On 04/01/2015 06:40 AM, Dzmitry Kazimirchyk wrote:
> MSK stands for first three consonants of word Moscow transliterated 
> from Russian (MoSKva)

I'm not sure about that theory.  If it were so, the English-language 
abbreviation would be "MSC", not "MSK", since English text almost 
invariably uses the spelling "Moscow".  And that theory wouldn't explain 
"MSD" either.  I expect the actual etymology was more complicated.

Regardless of the original etymology, in English "MSK" is a more-natural 
acronym for Minsk than it is for Moscow, and it has the advantage of 
being recognized as an alias for UTC+3 by a reasonably large set of 
software already (which is unwise, but there it is). The tz database is 
already on record as saying that time zone abbreviations are ambiguous 
and that software cannot reliably infer UTC offsets from the time zone 
abbreviations (e.g., "IST" stands for both India and Israel standard 
time).  The ambiguity of "MSK" is merely about location, not about both 
location and UTC offset, so it is more benign than ambiguities that have 
longstanding precedents in the database.

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