A Wrinkle in (Russian) Time

by flickr user maiak.info used under Creative Commons license


Frustrated with his lack of political power (and the fact that no one in the western media will ever refer to him without mentioning Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin in the same breath) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has decided to do something drastic. Peter the Great invented the civil service. V.I. Lenin streamlined the Cyrillic alphabet; the man who has so far distinguished himself as an attractive and well mannered sock puppet will singlehandedly take on Russian time.

Russia currently has eleven time zones, a number Medvedev would like to see slashed by two-thirds. If his rather ambitious plan succeeds, only four will survive. 

As surreal as it sounds, there’s actually a long history of time-tampering in world politics. China has just one time zone (though until 1949 it had five) making it the largest country in the world where everybody still eats dinner at the same time. Two years earlier, India and Pakistan separated themselves by half an hour (because heaven forbid it be the same time in Delhi and Lahore). Wedged between superpowers India and China, Nepal finds itself fifteen minutes ahead of the former and an hour and 15 behind the latter. 

Throw in Daylight Savings Time and things get weirder still. Most countries in Asia and Africa don’t observe it. Europe, North America and the Middle East generally do. Perhaps strangest of all is the row DST has stirred up in Iran, where President Ahmedinejad banned it in 2006, only to be overruled the following year by his parliament (DST was reinstated in 2008). Only time will tell whether it remains. 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.