A Wrinkle in (Russian) Time

by flickr user maiak.info used under Creative Commons license

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


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. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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