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Decision on Changing Clocks for Olympics to Be Made 'Within Days'

The government will discuss the possibility of turning back the country's clocks one hour for the Olympic games in Sochi, but it is too early to say if such a decision will be made, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Friday.

Kozak confirmed that the International Olympic Committee had raised the issue with the government "because TV stations want to know beforehand when the broadcasts of competitions will be," RIA-Novosti reported.

A media report in January suggested that the IOC had asked the government to turn clocks back one hour so that European television viewers could enjoy the games in February 2014 with a two-hour time difference instead of three. The IOC later clarified that it had only asked "for an opinion" and that any decision was the government's responsibility.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Kozak said that the IOC had asked "to end the discussion and make a final decision."

He added that a decision on the matter would be made in the next few days because this was the only way forward: "We have no other solution, we cannot just make no decision and continue the discussion," he was quoted as saying.

Kozak said that it was too early to say if the time reform would remain in place or not.

An abolition would be seen as a blow to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who pushed for the changes during his presidency, which ended last year.

The 2011 reform introduced daylight-saving time (summer time) for the whole year by abolishing the re-setting of clocks in spring and autumn and keeping clocks set one hour forward.

This led to shifting time differences with most other countries, who observe daylight saving time. It also introduced an extra hour of morning darkness in winter, while adding an extra hour of daylight in the afternoon.

Duma deputies called for a return to the previous regime last year, but the government has resisted, pointing to opinion polls that suggest that public pinion is split.

International broadcasters are scheduled to discuss the Olympics at a meeting at end of this month, and national media reports have said that they are pressing for Moscow to make a decision to reduce the time difference with Europe by then.

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