[tz] Belarus is listed in MSK timezone

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk dkazimirchyk at gmail.com
Fri Apr 24 20:29:16 UTC 2015

On 4/23/15 10:23 PM, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 04/23/2015 11:34 AM, Dzmitry Kazimirchyk wrote:
>> 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"
> It's not.  And this is why the current version of the tz database says
> that MSK stands for either Minsk or Moscow time.  It's true that the
> abbreviation is ambiguous and that this can cause confusion, but there
> are lots of ambiguous abbreviations in the tz database (AST, BST, CST,
> ...) and the resulting confusion is a normal and expected aspect of
> these abbreviations.  It's long been recommended to use numeric offsets
> like "+0300" to avoid this confusion, and this recommendation applies
> here as well.

Sorry, but I have already explained why I think it is wrong to compare 
MSK to AST, BST, CST, etc. To repeat myself, MSK is not a natural 
abbreviation for "Minsk time" but rather is an attempt to stick already 
existing foreign abbreviation to it. I can't see any logical explanation 
in picking first and two last letters of the first word of the term to 
construct an abbreviation for it, why not use MIN, MNS or MNK then. 
Neither I see any point in introducing ambiguity where there is no 
logical background for one to appear.

Moreover, as I've previously explained, MSK is known and widely used 
both locally and internationally as abbreviation to denote "Moscow time" 
and I don't see how a commentary in TZ database can change this 
conception, so the confusion and misinformation is inevitable and in 
fact is happening now with software picking MSK for Minsk from TZ 
database and disambiguating it as "Moscow Standard Time". I really don't 
think that TZ database is meant to introduce confusion and claim it as a 
normal practice when there are numerous reasons to avoid it.

On 4/23/15 11:59 PM, Lester Caine wrote:
> If one was to start again, then the software would probably not be
> designed around abbreviations, but it is probably that most early users
> were more interested in daylight saving changes and ignored the static
> tz offsets at all. If anything needs 'fixing' it's the need for an
> abbreviation at all when a location only has a fixed time offset. It IS
> only you who is trying to read more into the situation than actually
> exists ... in the absence of a documented answer we just use something
> to fill the hole, and MSK was correct at a point in history.

But it isn't correct at present. From what I understand the decision was 
indeed made in the absence of all the facts and answers, but I don't 
understand why now when the facts and answers are available there is 
such a strong opposition to reconsidering this decision taking them into 

I don't think reasoning about hypothetical TZ database's future without 
time zone abbreviations is particularly good argument in this case. It 
has abbreviations now, software and people see and use them, so unless 
abbreviations are abolished altogether there is not much point in making 
parallels to this case, since TZ database has lots of examples of using 
different abbreviations for the similar time zone offsets.

On 4/24/15 2:51 AM, Paul_Koning at dell.com wrote:>
> I think what he’s doing is refusing to make any changes whose reasoning is political, which makes sense.

I don't see why political reasoning is brought up over and over again 
when there is completely apolitical and logical explanation:

  * MSK is abbreviation for "Moscow time" with a strong history and is 
commonly used both locally and internationally;
  * MSK is not tied to a time offset like EST, EEST, etc., but is tied 
to time zone policies at specific geographical region and changes its 
offset rules following that region's practices (Minsk (and Belarus) is 
not part of the region MSK represents);
  * Minsk (Belarus) time zone is commonly referred to as "Minsk time" 
(not "Moscow time") both by people and in official sources and media;
  * MSK is neither natural nor historical or habitual abbreviation for 
"Minsk time";
  * Due to the above, usage of MSK for "Minsk time" is confusing and 
misleading, hence the abbreviation should be changed.

Dzmitry Kazimirchyk

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