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Russian Lawmakers Call for Shifting Time Closer to Greenwich

Russia should move its clocks back an hour on Oct. 26 and make no seasonal changes after that, according to a proposal submitted to the parliament by the chairman of its health committee, Sergey Kalashnikov.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, while president in 2011, abolished daylight savings time, extending the time difference between Moscow and London to four hours when most of Europe sets clocks back in the winter from three hours the rest of the year. Medvedev said the change was intended to ease stress for farmers and dairy cows.

Medvedev’s decree disrupted Russians’ “biorhythms,” Kalashnikov, who has previously sought to overturn the law, wrote in a description attached to his draft. There are four proposals in parliament to revise Medvedev’s decision, Kalashnikov said in a phone interview, adding that they’re not aimed at undermining the prime minister. “My main concern is people’s health,” he said.

The time difference with Europe has cut liquidity for stocks in Moscow and hurt Russia’s efforts to boost the role of finance in its oil-dependent economy. Funds that invest globally as well as those focused on emerging markets hold about 73 percent of Russia’s $105 billion in institutional assets, Sberbank CIB analysts said in a report on Jan. 16. OAO Moscow Exchange, Russia’s main bourse, moved to settling transactions over two days last September and plans to make equities available through Euroclear Bank SA in July.

“Basically there are two hours in the morning where nothing happens,” John Heisel, the Moscow-based vice president of sales and trading at Renaissance Capital Holdings Ltd, said by e-mail. “Liquidity is best across both platforms -- the Moscow Exchange and London Stock Exchange -- when both exchanges are open. So besides a slight improvement in quality of life for Moscow-based employees, trading volumes should naturally increase.”

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