[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk dkazimirchyk at gmail.com
Thu Apr 2 10:38:55 UTC 2015

On 4/2/15 12:13 PM, Lester Caine wrote:
> Dzmitry ... That is exactly the reason that the rules for the TZ
> database deliberately try to avoid any political bias. I am often at
> odds with Paul over maintaining historic material, but any pre-1990
> standards are maintained. We can't re-write history. But similarly it is
> not the job of the database to create it, so where there is no
> consensus, the historic base simply roles forward. The TZ database does
> not maintain a location mapping service, which is where the link between
> any ground location and a set of rules in TZ should be established, and
> it is that mapping service which would add any local descriptions and
> details. The TZ database simply provides a reliable set of rules that
> are accurate for the identifiers provided ... which are not locations.

Similarly I would then argue that changing Belarus time zone to MSK 
several months ago itself was rewriting history and had a political 
bias, since Belarus had its own time zone before that and didn't change 
any time keeping policies, so there was no immediate need to put the 
country into another time zone out from its own.

I agree that creating a history is not the job of TZ database, but it is 
in fact creating history now (in one way or another) by making people 
believe that Belarus uses "Moscow time" (MSK), due to the well-known 
historical meaning of MSK which details were mentioned previously in 
this discussion and not only by me alone, and existence of a lot of 
software relying on TZ database out there to spread this information to 
the public.

To quote TZ database's own maintenance guidelines 

3.  Changes to existing entries SHALL reflect the consensus on the
     ground in the region covered by that entry.

    To be clear, the TZ Coordinator SHALL NOT set time zone policy for a
    region but use judgment and whatever available sources exist to
    assess what the average person on street would think the time
    actually is, or in case of historical corrections, was.

Given that we all agreed that the commonly used name to denote time in 
Belarus is "Minsk time" and neither MSK nor "Moscow time" is used in the 
media and official sources for that purpose. I have a reason to believe 
that the recent change of time zone for Belarus to MSK doesn't adhere to 
the policies declared in this clause.

I may be wrong, but if it is so hard to change time zone name for 
Belarus now, I don't understand why it was so easily changed to MSK 
months ago without considering MINT or BYT according to usual process as 
was suggested earlier.

I thank everyone for their time and lots of useful information on the 
topic, but I am still not convinced that current situation with Belarus 
time zone is right and hope for some logical and unbiased resolution.

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk

More information about the tz mailing list