The other day I head that Prime Minister Putin in Russia had decreed that his country would not go back to winter or standard time. They would continue to use daylight savings time, or summer time as it is called there, all year round. I was amused at the high-handed way Mr. Putin wanted to create a quick and dirty solution to a problem that has been discussed in Europe for years now.
Well, as you can guess the order from the Kremlin was heard by the media and most of the public, but it just didn’t make it into the electronic brains of all our modern gadgets. PCs, MACs, smart phones, organizers, smart watches, yes even TVs and some fridges were totally unimpressed by the decree. They all changed over to standard time Sunday morning. Subsequently there was great confusion at the beginning of the week. Many meetings and appointments were missed or not properly attended.
Europe has been discussing the value of changing to daylight saving time annually ever since it was first introduced during the Oil Crisis in the 70s of the last century. There never seemed to be an economical advantage – quite the contrary, as the annual switch back and forth causes a lot of extra planning and rescheduling for trains, busses and air-trafic. The public is widely split on for or against. Some appreciate the extra daylight in the summer, others complain all year round that they lost an hour’s worth of sleep. Farmers have always had a problem, as dairy cows can’t read clocks and still want to be milked at the same time every morning.
But, to go off and try to solve a dispute like that with a decree by the leader of a supposed democracy smacks of despotism. It seems to confirm the thoughts of many Europeans that Mr. Putin would like to wear the Zarist crown and get rid of all the democratic baggage like Parliament and even his president.