Russian Word of the Day: Зимнее время-Daylight savings

This week we’ll talk about the various events and woes of the autumn season.

A year ago right now I was in Kiev for my friend Pasha’s funeral.  I only stayed for a week, but I was there right in time for daylight savings.  I kept hearing everyone talk about перевод на зимнее время (change to winter time).  I didn’t know really what they were talking about. Daylight savings always catches me by happy surprise in the fall and not-so-happy surprise in the spring. But in Kiev my internal clock was out of whack from jet lag and so I was not very concerned with one dinky little hour.

There is lots of controversy and variation with Daylight Savings. Ukraine changes to Daylight savings the last Sunday in October and in America we change the first Sunday of November. One article informs Ukrainians that:

“В ночь с субботы на воскресенье, 28 октября, состоится перевод времени в Украине на зимнее 2012”

“In Ukraine the change of time will take place in the night from Saturday to Sunday”.

The article goes on to warn that daylight savings time is harmful because you don’t have enough time to adapt to the change and…

“Из-за этого  в течение рабочей недели может нарушиться режим сна, появиться недомогание и чувство чрезмерной усталости”

“Because of this during the course of the week your sleep pattern can be disturbed and you may have lethargy and extreme fatigue”.

So why do we even bother with Daylight savings? Is it really worth that happy feeling you get when you wake up Sunday morning and realize you have another hour to sleep?

Russia decided it was not worth it. In 2011 The Russian Duma decided that

“Мы переведем стрелки на час назад. Так и останется”

“We are changing the hands (literally. arrows) to an hour back. And it will stay that way”


“Negative influence of Daylight Savings Time” This image claims that sleep deprivations, suicide, depression, stress and lower quality of life all result from the time change.

Medvedev’s reasoning behind this went as follows:

“Мы, действительно, привыкли каждую весну и осень переводить стрелки часов и по привычке на это ругаться, потому что реально нарушается биоритм человеческий, всех это раздражает, все либо просыпают, либо просыпаются рано и не знают, куда себя деть в течение лишнего часа.

“Actually, we are used to changing the clock every spring and autumn and we also have a habit of complaining about it because it really disturbs human biorhythms, it irritates everyone, people either oversleep or they wake up early not knowing what to do with themselves for an extra hour.”

So last year when Ukraine and other Northern European countries ‘fell back’ an hour. Russia charged on ahead. This resulted in some confusion:

“Некоторые мобильники и компьютеры вообще не “послушались” президента…Будильники на мобильном телефоне сработали на час позже, в результате некоторые люди опоздали на работу.”

“Some mobile phones and computers did not ‘obey’ the president.  Alarm clocks started working an hour later(thinking that it was daylight savings time) and as a result some people were late to work.”

So that was one problem. Another problem was that the sun didn’t rise until 10 am which lead to serious мрачняк. The perfect segue to tomorrow’s post about yet another woe of the winter months.

The New York Times has an interesting article on this here.

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