Lawmaker Seeks Fewer Time Zones

The time difference between Moscow and Vladivostok might be cut to four hours from the current seven if a Primorye region lawmaker gets his way.

Gennady Lazarev, a United Russia deputy and rector of the Vladivostok State Economics and Service University, said the change would promote economic ties between Moscow and the Far East.

“Our working day ends when it starts in Moscow. It’s both inconvenient for us and Moscow,” he said in a statement published on his university’s web site.

Lazarev also said the time difference created many inconveniences for businessmen and politicians who travel often between Moscow and the Far East.

A change would ease traffic jams in Vladivostok because some organizations would start their working days earlier, at 6 a.m or 7 a.m., he said.

He said he had the support of several colleagues and promised to raise the issue in the Primorye region legislature.

“The conversion should be very smooth,” Lazarev said.

He made no comment about whether any other time zones should be changed. The time difference between Kamchatka, Russia’s easternmost point, and Kaliningrad, its westernmost point, is 11 hours.

Other politicians have also discussed playing with time to improve the efficiency of commerce. Mayor Yury Luzhkov proposed earlier this month changing the working hours of some Moscow organizations to decrease rush-hour traffic.

Vyacheslav Lysakov, head of the motorists’ movement Freedom of Choice, said politicians might be onto something with their plans to change working hours to reduce traffic jams. “Despite the fact that Luzhkov has come up with a number of outlandish ideas, this one has a grain of sense,” Lysakov said.

But changes should be overseen by experts, not politicians, he said. “There are many other ways to tackle the traffic problem,” he said. “Yury Mikhailovich [Luzhkov] and other Moscow officials could start to take the metro.”

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