Winter Blues From Summer Nights In Russia

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Winter Blues From Summer Nights In Russia


In the Nolan Brothers’ film, “Insomnia“, Al Pacino’s character was mentally torn to shreds by the endless summer days of an Alaskan town. The constant sunshine gradually ate away at the hard boiled detective’s psyche by depriving him of sleep…that and a guilty conscience, but you’ll just have to watch the movie to learn the specifics.

Across the frigid waters of the Bering Strait is, of course, Russia, whose winters are among the harshest if not the most extreme outside of the Arctic circles. Up until a year ago, Russians used to observe daylight savings. When acting President Dimitry Medvedev announced that Russia would no longer adjust their national clocks, the majority of the general public was all for it. A year later, Russia is nearing the end of its first winter without daylight savings. Having resisted the urge to push their clocks forward an hour, Russians had to get used to putting up with their day-to-day of work without much sunshine.

“I’m kind of light dependent. I always need light. It’s so difficult to get up in the dark every morning. Moreover, my office doesn’t have any windows, so I’m in the dark all day. I go to work and it’s dark, I go back home and it’s even darker.”
– Pavel Kondravitiyex, computer programmer.

Old habits are hard to break and many Russians have been complaining bitterly about waking up to darkness and coming home from work to it, effectively missing what little sun there is because of work. It’s not just the blue collar folk, who are ruing the time shift or lack thereof rather. Footballers, and the fans who support them, have been complaining enough that even Prime Minister Putin said he would reconsider the decision.

Ironically, the Soviet Union had not yet adopted the practice of advancing the clocks to conserve electricity until 1981 whereas the earliest adopter had been Germany in 1916. Furthermore, it was on this day in 1919 that the Soviet Navy opted to push the clocks forward one hour and divide Russia into 11 time zones (via RT). Just imagine, an expanse as vast as the Russian tundra operating under one time zone. Although I’m sure took some getting used to, that was change for the better. This move to go against the grain, however, does not seem too productive. Being a card puncher, myself, I can tell you The workforce needs its sleep.

This article was published with the intent of shining light upon Russia’s winter weather, but since we started with a movie reference, we might as well finish on one. “The Machinist” starring Christian Bale is a must-see movie about a man, who hasn’t slept in almost a year. It’s a bit extreme, but just imagine trying to operate heavy machinery when your eyes are burning from sleep deprivation.

Russians Tired and Ticked Off by Summer Time | News | The Moscow Times:

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