[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Paul Eggert eggert at cs.ucla.edu
Thu Apr 23 10:42:01 UTC 2015

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk wrote:
> I would like for the last time to kindly ask about the main reasoning behind it

To some extent I'm repeating myself, but here goes:

Although there is no widely-used English-language abbreviation for Minsk time, 
the database forces us to put something there.  We've used MSK for it in the 
past and there hasn't been any technical problems with it, and there's not 
sufficient justification to invent a new abbreviation.  Among other things, 
although Minsk is an unusual case, it's by no means unique: there are other 
cases of multiple Zones sharing the same abbreviation and UTC offset even though 
the full zone names differ (PST in Pitcairn and the US) and of a country 
"stealing" a neighbor's abbreviation (AST in Iraq and Saudi Arabia).

More generally, a primary goal of the tz database is to reflect common practice, 
not to invent it.  For example, the next tz release is planned to change an 
abbreviation used in the United States zone America/Adak, as we invented one 
abbreviation (HAST) but we have since found that standard practice is to use a 
different one (HST).  Years ago, before I knew better, I invented a lot of 
abbreviations and put them into the tz database, but that was a questionable 
practice and we're better off avoiding it when we can, as is the case with both 
Adak and Minsk.

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