A Look Back: When Russia’s Time Zones Were Front-Page News

Throughout my career, I’ve shared my insights with numerous media outlets on topics from science to politics. Thus, it was no surprise when The New York Times sought my perspective on Russia’s time zones.

Back in 2009, President Medvedev contemplated reducing the number of time zones. I argued for their significance, stating that they are an endearing feature of Russia and should be preserved:

Mr. Medvedev mentioned that while the 11 time zones were often portrayed as “a vivid symbol of our country’s greatness,” that notion might need to be discarded. Perhaps not, said Elia Kabanov, 26, director of a public relations agency in Novosibirsk. “Eleven time zones it is an endearing feature of Russia, part of our national idea, if you would,” Mr. Kabanov said. “It is something that distinguishes us from China or the U.S.A., and something that we need to preserve for future generations.”

Regrettably, Mr. Medvedev didn’t heed my advice and scaled back the time zones. It wasn’t his first mistake, and certainly not his last.

Frankly, I miss the times when our debates were about time itself.

Elia Kabanov is a science writer covering the past, present and future of technology (@metkere)

All images: Elia Kabanov feat. Midjourney.