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Medvedev’s Time - Медведевское время


Medvedev’s Time

MOSCOW — “What time is it?” asked Ksenia.
“My cellphone says it’s 9 a.m., and the wall clock says it’s 10. Can anybody tell me what time it really is?” This, from Alexander.
Dmitri MedvedevAlexander Zemlianichenko/EPADmitri Medvedev
And from Alexei, in London: “Dear Moscow colleagues, please bear in mind that I am now four hours behind you, not three.” And in case that wasn’t clear enough: “That means when it’s 11 in Moscow, it’s still 7 in the morning where I am!”
On Sunday, October 30, Russian speakers the world over were preoccupied with the most quotidian of questions.
Another two dozen comments on the topic of time rounded out my Facebook page that Sunday — the first day in 30 years that Russia did not turn its clocks back in the autumn. Now Russia will be frozen indefinitely in daylight savings time. In winter, the sun will rise long after most people have arrived at work or school.
And making one’s way in the dark every frigid morning will likely be the enduring legacy of Dmitri Medvedev’s four-year term as president.

When Vladimir Putin’s handpicked successor took office in May 2008, he seemed full of good, even grand, intentions. He planned to fight corruption. He promised to reform the country’s ineffective and often brutal law enforcement services. He said he would draw human rights groups and other noncommercial organizations into the governing process. He claimed he would find ways for the Russian state finally to acknowledge the crimes of Stalinism and honor its victims. He also mentioned wanting to do something about the fact that Russia spans 11 time zones — the only issue he planned to tackle about which no one but the new president seemed at all concerned.
The fight against corruption did not get very far. Between 2007 and 2010 (the last year for which figures are available), Russia dropped from 143rd to 154th place in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index — out of a possible 178. Of the many outrageous stories of Russian corruption, the most heartbreaking happened on Medvedev’s watch. A young accountant named Sergei Magnitsky uncovered an embezzlement scheme in which tax officials and police officers swindled the Russian treasury out of $230 million in taxes. Apparently in retaliation for this, Magnitsky was arrested and held in conditions best described as torture, until he died in prison in November 2009, at the age of 37. Medvedev promised to identify those responsible for Magnitsky’s death and have them punished. Two years later, this still has not happened, and the accountant’s executioners continue to serve in law enforcement. The only thing that has changed is a name: what used to be known as the militia is now the police.
Medvedev’s cooperation with human rights activists and nongovernmental organizations has not gone well either. His own committee of just such people, the Presidential Council on Human Rights, investigated Magnitsky’s death and issued a report detailing the torture to which he’d been subjected and listing those responsible. But its findings have been all but ignored. And despite Medvedev’s promises, victims of Russia’s earlier regimes have fared no better. For two years now he has been expected, and has failed, to sign a decree finally establishing a national museum devoted to the memory of victims of Soviet terror.
The only goal Medvedev set for himself and actually fulfilled is decreasing the number of time zones in Russia — from 11 to nine — and canceling the seasonal resetting of the clock.
Time zones are a reflection of cultural values almost as much as they are a reflection of physical reality. China has only one: The entire country lives on Beijing’s clock, much as it lives by Beijing’s rules in other ways. Austria, which is geographically located in Eastern Europe, maintains Western European time to indicate that it belongs to that part of the continent.
The Russian president has moved Chukotka one hour closer to Moscow but has moved Moscow one hour farther away from Berlin, Paris, London and New York — just as it has moved Moscow farther and farther away from such Western cultural values as transparency, human rights and the rule of law.

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Медведевское время

30 октября русскоязычных людей во всем мире заботил самый банальный вопрос "Который час?", отмечает в блоге на сайте The New York Times журналистка Маша Гессен. Одни не могли понять, какие часы показывают правильное время, другие предостерегали, что разница во времени между Москвой и Лондоном теперь составляет 4 часа.
30 октября в России впервые за 30 лет не стали переходить на зимнее время. Необходимость зимой ехать на работу или учебу затемно - вот что надолго останется в наследство от президентства Дмитрия Медведева, считает автор.
Когда преемник Путина вступил в должность в мае 2008 года, казалось, что у него предостаточно добрых и даже грандиозных намерений, пишет Гессен. Он планировал бороться с коррупцией, реформировать правоохранительные органы, привлечь НКО к государственному управлению, осуществить признание государством преступлений сталинизма. Он также упомянул, что хочет что-то сделать с 11 часовыми поясами России. Эта проблема не заботила, видимо, никого, кроме самого Медведева, замечает Маша Гессен.
По мнению автора статьи, борьба с коррупцией и другие инициативы продвинулись недалеко. Единственная цель, которую Медведев поставил себе и действительно осуществил, - это уменьшение числа часовых поясов в России и отмена перевода часов.
"Часовые пояса - отражение культурных ценностей почти в той же мере, как и физической реальности", - замечает Гессен, поясняя, что огромный Китай живет по пекинскому времени, а Австрия - по западноевропейскому, хотя географически находится в Восточной Европе.
Российский президент "отодвинул Москву на час от Берлина, Парижа, Лондона и Нью-Йорка, точно так же как это отодвинуло Москву от западных культурных ценностей: транспарентности, прав человека и верховенства закона", - заключает журналистка.

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