(Update 082214: Please see the new post Update on Windows support for new Russian Time Zones with more information on the upcoming update.)

MP900385402[1]Back in 2011, I wrote on the Microsoft corporate blog about the of daylight saving time in the Russian Federation. Then in 2012, I noted Russia considered a return to Winter Time in 2012.

If my very poor knowledge of Russian proverbs is correct: Бог тро́ицу лю́бит. In other words, “Third time’s a charm.” (I’m also reminded of the saying, “There was a time they loved an accordionist, and now the time has come where they love a tractor driver.” but that’s a different story.)

Since then, there’s been a number of reports of discussions in Russia about a shift away from the changes to time zones and daylight saving time offsets in the Russian Federation. Over the summer (here in the northern hemisphere) the Russian State Duma passed a proposal which was signed into law by President Putin, which outlines the plan to change all of the time zones in the Federation. (A highlight from the venerable BBC is available here.) The changes will take effect October 26, 2014, and essentially moves many existing time zones back one hour, and create two new time zones. These new time zones will not observe daylight saving time (aka DST).

(You may view the Federal Law 431985-6, noting the return to winter time and to use 11 time zones in Russia at http://itar-tass.com/obschestvo/1333711 and http://www.pravo.gov.ru:8080/page.aspx?111660. with the amendments to the Federal Law on time available here.)

We were aware of this proposal and have worked closely with representatives in the country to prepare our products and services for the update. For our customers and partners worldwide, this means there are some things to be aware of, and in some cases, work to do to prepare for this change. We have a preliminary set of new display names for the new time zones to use with the new Russian Time Zones (aka RTZ):

RTZ #

Name of Time Zone (Current)

Display Name

1

Kaliningrad Standard Time

(UTC+02:00) Kaliningrad (RTZ1)

2

Russian Standard Time

(UTC+03:00) Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd (RTZ2)

3

N/A

(UTC+04:00) Izhevsk, Samara (RTZ3)

4

Ekaterinburg Standard Time

(UTC+05:00) Ekaterinburg (RTZ4)

5

N. Central Asia Standard Time

(UTC+06:00) Novosibirsk (RTZ5)

6

North Asia Standard Time

(UTC+07:00) Krasnoyarsk (RTZ6)

7

North Asia East Standard Time

(UTC+08:00) Irkutsk (RTZ7)

8

Yakutsk Standard Time

(UTC+09:00) Yakutsk (RTZ8)

9

Vladivostok Standard Time / Magadan Standard Time

(UTC+10:00) Vladivostok, Magadan (RTZ9)

10

N/A

(UTC+11:00) Chokurdakh (RTZ10)

11

Kamchatka Standard Time (obsolete)

(UTC+12:00) Anadyr, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (RTZ11)

(Often, time zone names are referenced by developers through API calls (“GetTimeZoneInformation”) as noted on here on MSDN.)

We have outlined the release schedule for the update prior to the change, which we’ll publish shortly on our Daylight Saving Time Help and Support Center (at http://www.microsoft.com/time) and on our Daylight Saving Time & Time Zone Blog.

If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll recall that our Windows team in OSG follows DST and TZ changes globally and provides guidance to all product and services teams on the changes. Most applications and services reference the underlying Windows OS for their TZ and DST rules, with some exceptions. This change in Russia has the potential for worldwide impacts on time references for multinational customers, and so the recommendation will be for all customers to apply the updates to currently supported products. Updates will be important not only for users in Russia but for connected systems around the world. (While Microsoft’s Services infrastructure will be updated to reflect these DST changes, it's important that your computers -- both clients and servers that connect to and interact with these services -- should have the Windows DST updates applied in order to ensure data integrity.)

Which reminds me: we have also outlined recommendations to help achieve more seamless transitions to new DST and time zone policies. (More information is also available at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/dst_ms_response.)

Also available via http://aka.ms/Russia2014