Moscow Time (Russian: Моско́вское вре́мя) is the time zone for the city of Moscow, Russia, Belarus, and most of western Russia, including Saint Petersburg. It is the second-westernmost of the eleven time zones of Russia. It has been set to UTC+3 permanently on 26 October 2014; before that date it had been set to UTC+4 year-round since 27 March 2011.
Moscow Time is used to schedule trains, ships, etc. throughout Russia, while airplane travel is scheduled using local time. Times in Russia are often announced throughout the country on radio stations as Moscow Time, and this time is also registered in telegrams, etc. Descriptions of time zones in Russia are often based on Moscow Time rather than UTC. For example, Yakutsk (UTC+9) is said to be MSK+6 within Russia.
In accordance with the 16 June 1930 Decree of the Council of People's Commissars, the Decree Time was introduced by adding one hour to the time in each time zone of the USSR, so that Moscow Time became three hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time.
Until 2011, during the winter, between the last Sunday of October and the last Sunday of March, Moscow Standard Time (MSK, МСК) was three hours ahead of UTC, or UTC+3; during the summer, Moscow Time shifted forward an additional hour ahead of Moscow Standard Time to become Moscow Summer Time (MSD), making it UTC+4.
In 2011, the Russian government proclaimed that daylight saving time would in future be observed all year round, thus effectively displacing standard time—an action which the government claimed emerged from health concerns attributed to the annual shift back-and-forth between standard time and daylight saving time. On 27 March 2011, Muscovites set their clocks forward for a final time, effectively observing MSD, or UTC+4, permanently.
On 29 March 2014, after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol—two federal subjects established by Russia on the Crimean Peninsula—switched their time to MSK.
In July 2014, the State Duma passed a bill repealing the 2011 change, putting Moscow Time on permanent UTC+3.
Most of the European Russia (the portion of Russia west of the Ural Mountains) uses Moscow Time. In Kaliningrad Oblast, Kaliningrad time (UTC+2) is used. Samara Oblast and Udmurtia use Samara time (UTC+4) and Perm Krai, Bashkortostan and Orenburg Oblast use Yekaterinburg time (UTC+5). In the Crimean Federal District, the disputed region of Crimea between Russia and Ukraine, the Moscow Time is also observed, as well as in the separatist territories of the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, which since 2014 control the majority of the Ukrainian Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast.
Prior to 27 March 2011, Moscow Time was UTC+3. Daylight saving time was used in the summer, advancing it to UTC+4.
UTC+3 was also formerly used in European parts of what was then the USSR:
- Belarus, in 1930–1991
- Estonia, in 1940–1989
- Latvia, in 1940–1989
- Lithuania, in 1940–1989
- Moldova, in 1940–1991
- Ukraine, in 1930–1990
- Kaliningrad Oblast (Russia), in 1946–1991
- Samara Oblast (Russia), in 1989–1991, and again from 2010–2011.
Moscow Summer Time (UTC+4), was first applied in 1981 and was used:
- until 1988 in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
- until 1989 in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine
- until 1990 in Kaliningrad Oblast.
- between 1989 and 1990 and in 2010 in Samara Oblast.
In 1922–1930 and 1991–1992, Moscow observed EET (UTC+2). Daylight saving time (UTC+3) was observed in the summer of 1991, and the city and region reverted to UTC+3 by the summer of 1992.
The time in Moscow has been as follows (the list of DST usage is probably not accurate here):
|From July 1919||UTC+3|
|From October 1922||UTC+2 (EET)|
|From 21 June 1930||UTC+3|
|From 1 April 1981||UTC+3 with DST|
|From 31 March 1991||UTC+2 with DST|
|From 19 January 1992||UTC+3 with DST|
|From 27 March 2011||UTC+4|
|From 26 October 2014||UTC+3|
- "Russia Turns Clocks Back to 'Winter' Time". RIA Novosti. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Russia Abolishes Winter Time". Timeanddate.com. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- "DPR and LPR switch over to Moscow time". Tass - Russian News Agency. 26 October 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- Time Zone Database (IANA)