Soviet time zone rule change on 1991/03/31

Arthur David Olson ado
Sat Mar 30 04:53:05 UTC 1991

The attached from Paul Eggert should be of interest.

It looks as if three sets of "Rule" lines for the Soviet Union will be needed;
while they should clearly be called SU-Thesis, SU-Antithesis, and SU-Synthesis,
which should be which is debatable.


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> From: yata!eggert at (Paul Eggert)
> Message-Id: <9103232146.AA04965 at>
> To: ado at, buz at, moraes at, rsalz at
> Subject: Soviet time zone rule change on 1991/03/31 (``go to bed as usual'')
> Status: RO
> [Is there a mailing list or newsgroup for time zones in software?
> Anyway, just to show that the US has no monopoly on time zone screwups,
> here's a story from the Los Angeles Times, 1991/03/22, page A18.
> Of course they blame it all on Stalin.  -- Paul <eggert at>]
> Soviets Get Clocks Back on Track--and It's About Time
> >From Associated Press
> MOSCOW--Red-faced Soviet officials are admitting they haven't kept the
> correct time in more than six decades, blaming a mistake in the Stalin
> era when clocks should have bene turned back an hour.
> As a result, officials are scrapping the Soviet version of
> daylight-saving time this summer.  Clocks, however, will still ``fall
> back'' an hour in the autumn.
> All this timekeeping havoc is bound to further baffle a nation that has
> had its share of confusion for 1991.
> March 31 is when clocks usually are moved forward an hour for summer
> time in the Soviet Union, which has 11 time zones.
> But the Council of Ministers has decreed that the move won't be made
> for most of the Soviet Union--the huge Russion Federation, which
> includes Moscow; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Byelorussia; Turkmenia and the
> Ukraine.
> The republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova, however, will
> follow their rebellious tradition and move their clocks ahead as
> before.
> To confound the masses even more, Tadzhikistan, parts of Kazakhstan and
> some other regions will actually set their clocks back an hour to
> better organize daylight hours, the decree said.
> According to the newspaper Evening Moscow, the move was made to correct
> a 61-year-old mistake.
> ``In 1930, it was decided to introduce summer time and move the hands
> of clocks one hour ahead,'' the paper said.  ``In the passage of time,
> they did not announce winter time'' in the fall of 1930, leaving the
> country with a single time year-round.
> In 1981, it was decided to restore the seasonal time change.  But when
> the clocks were moved forward an hour that spring, the country wound up
> with two extra hours of sunlight during summer instead of the intended
> one.
> Officials figured that the end of March--the regular date to move
> clocks ahead--was the best time to correct the imbalance.  ``On March
> 31, one should not move the hands of the clock ahead, but go to bed as
> usual,'' the newspaper advised.

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