esmaspäev, mai 07, 2007

A Funny Thing About Time

Since the end of the Second World War, the USSR, and its successor countries, especially Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, have celebrated Victory Day on May 9.

Although the Germans surrendered to the Soviets on May 8 in Berlin, it was already early in the morning (12:43 am) in Moscow. And so, due to this time difference, those who celebrate the Soviet victory celebrate on May 9, not May 8.

At the same time the German surrender to the British and Americans occured towards the end of May 7, but hostilities were agreed to cease at 23:01 Central European Time on May 8. And so, the Americans and Europeans recognize May 8 as Victory Europe Day.

The Estonians' predicament is as interesting as always. You see, the Soviets set Estonian clocks to Moscow time when they reconquered this small land in 1944. That is, in Helsinki it was 11:43 pm when the Germans surrendered to the Soviets, but in Tallinn it was officially 12:43 am.

However, since most would agree that the sun reaches Tallinn and Helsinki after it reaches Moscow, you can surmise that the Estonians prefer to celebrate this event now at the proper time on May 8, rather than May 9. You could call it revisionism. Or you could just say that the timing of the commemoration is reality-based, as opposed to ideology-based. Either way, Estonia now celebrates the "end of the war" -- which dragged on into the 1950s in Estonia -- on May 8, not May 9.

6 kommentaari:

Unknown ütles ...

However, since most would agree that the sun reaches Tallinn and Helsinki before it reaches Moscow

You mean it reaches Moscow before it reaches Tallinn and Helsinki? Since it rises from the east?

Giustino ütles ...

DUH. I'll correct that.

klx ütles ...

on May 8, not May 9.

you facists... tsk tsk.

Unknown ütles ...

So one can celebrate the end of WW2 on:

1) May 8 @ the bronze soldier statue
Progressive russians, estonians + eurocommies, leftists.

2) May 9 @ the bronze soldier statue
Russians who mourn their dead.

3) May 9 @ Tõnismägi
Russians who miss the Soviet Union, provocators, waving red-soviet flags, drinking vodka, singing war songs, etc. -- "the scum" (homo sovieticus) to whom the government should show no mercy.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

And the in the Far East? Soviet soldiers were still dying in Mandchuria after May 45. WWII was not over yet. Most of European don't realize that. The Koreans had high hopes to regain their independence again after more than 40 years of Japanese occupation. Instead they were divided by Soviet and American decision. Happy anniversery, yeah! Celebrate May 1945, but not there.

Pēteris Cedriņš ütles ...

There's much more to the May 8th/9th difference than a mere time difference -- see this article about Stalin's control of the Russians' historical memory, by Dr. Oleg Ken of the European University in St. Petersburg.

I have a related post here.