[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk dkazimirchyk at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 18:34:36 UTC 2015

I am sorry but applying all this to Minsk time is largely questionable 
and dismisses all the counterarguments from the previous discussion 
without proper explanation as to why. I apologize, but let me reiterate 
here too:

On 4/23/15 1:42 PM, Paul Eggert wrote:

> 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.

MSK was used to denote "Moscow time" which was used in Minsk before 
1991, but I thought we have agreed that nowadays the correct term is 
"Minsk time" and MSK is neither historical nor natural abbreviation for 
that. Isn't this sufficient enough justification, not even considering 
the fact that Minsk already had its own abbreviation before Moscow 
adjusted their clock.

> 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).

I actually thought that Arabia in AST represents geographical term 
Arabian Peninsula (which is also referred to as Arabia) rather than 
country of Saudi Arabia which is one of the countries located there and 
its usage for denoting time zone in Iraq is justified by Iraq having 
significant part of its territory geographically located there.

If consider that AST bears its name from Saudi Arabia, these two points 
are actually contradicting each other: PST is example of two natural 
abbreviations with different disambiguation, and the AST argument would 
suggest that time in Minsk should be denoted as "Moscow time" which we 
already agreed isn't the case.

> 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.

Yes, but I don't see how forcing MSK (a.k.a. Moscow time) on 
Europe/Minsk is reflecting common practice. I'd rather say it is the 
opposite of that (since as I've explained earlier in this thread MSK is 
neither natural nor commonly used abbreviation for "Minsk time"). What I 
can see however is TZ database inventing a new practice of using "Moscow 
time" to describe time zone for Belarus.

Could you please point to flaws in my reasoning here or tell why these 
arguments are being dismissed?

I am having impression that many of the "for MSK" arguments are invented 
only to defend the questionable decision made not so long ago. I am sure 
that all the edge case precedents used here as arguments have counter 
precedents where exactly the opposite was done. From what I understand 
Minsk was switched to MSK because of the confusion caused by its 
historic record of using "Moscow time" back when it was part of another 
country, as we have figured out in this discussion it isn't the case 
now, so I don't see any compelling reason to keep using it. After all TZ 
database is there to give relevant information to people, but I can't 
see how it is TZ database's mission to confuse (or even offend) locals 
by telling them that they are using foreign "Moscow time" or to give 
misleading information about country's time zone name to the non locals.

I understand that not being a member of TZ community I might not know 
certain things about TZ database practices, but am I really the only one 
finding this whole situation strange?

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk

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