Permanent wintertime = 3am sunrises

My first night here I woke up around 3am and noticed it was light outside. I almost started panicking, as I thought we had overslept (Wim had to work), which wasn’t that unlikely after the welcome party. 😉

But then I looked at my alarm clock and noticed it was only little after 3am. I was a bit confused but sufficiently reassured to fall back asleep and was woken up at a more reasonable time by Wim’s alarm clock.

The next day I learnt that the very early sunrise had everything to do with the permanent wintertime here in Russia. As a matter of fact, it was only last year in October that Russia permanently switched to wintertime.

Four years ago, in 2011, former president Medvedev had switched the clocks to year-round summer time. Initially the change was popular, but a survey in 2013 showed that less than a third of Russians wanted to keep the clocks forward all year.

Permanent summer time reportedly created stress and health problems, especially for people in northern Russia, where the mornings would remain darker for longer during the winter months. Even the increase of morning road accidents was blamed on the time change. So that’s why Putin decided to switch Russia permanently to winter time on 26 October 2014.

By the way, did you know that Russia has no less than 11 time zones?! At the same time as the time switch last October, two new time zones were created.

Russia already had nine time zones but now the area around the Volga River (south of Yaroslavl) runs one hour ahead of Moscow, and the remote Kamchatka and Chukotka regions in the far east are nine hours ahead.

Time zones

Sources:
BBC: Russia: Putin abolishes ‘daylight savings’ time change
Wikipedia: Time in Russia

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