Time won't change, decrees Medvedev

Russians will now be permanently on daylight saving time after they set their clocks ahead one hour early yesterday under a decree from President Dmitry Medvedev.

Mr Medvedev, who has already tinkered with time by reducing the number of the vast country's time zones to nine from 11, has said switching clocks back and forth is bad for health.

Scientific studies show more suicides and heart attacks occur immediately after a shift to daylight saving time, and that switching clocks causes more pollution.

Russia has been grappling for decades with issues of time in a country that stretches across 6,200 miles and whose northernmost reaches see less than an hour of sunlight a day during the winter months.

A Kremlin handout earlier this year, citing experts, said that depending on the region, the change would increase the amount of perceived daylight by between 7 and 17 per cent.

Russia's abolition of winter time will, however, boost annual electricity consumption by 1 billion kw/h, or 0.01 per cent of total usage, the Kremlin handout read, because mornings will be darker and people will need to use more energy.

"Since 1916, countries have, to one decree or another, been 'experimenting' with time and I think the process is likely to continue," the RIA news agency reported Vladimir Krutikov, the deputy head of Russia's metrology agency RosStandard, as saying.