So from now on they’ll have the luxury of seeing a glimpse of the sun when they drive to work, yet they’ll have to resort to pitch black darkness when they get back. In summer, the sun will rise at 4 in the morning and it will be dark before nine in the evening. It won’t be long till there is a popular backlash against it – people will demand their DST back because they want their beauty sleep unimpeded by the overly early sunrise, and they want their evenings to be light longer.
At least that’s precisely what happened in my country when the government abolished DST for a couple of years. Plus there were ramifications regarding time differences with adjacent countries that had previously been in the same timezone. All in all, the experience that looked nice on paper (and I was initially for it) turned out horribly wrong. Even DST all year round (in effect moving the timezone one zone eastwards) is a saner approach, as long as humans are involved.
It looks like a multi-party system on paper, but the Kremlin has slowly and steadily gained control over all the media (with some exceptions), most notably the television, and as that is what most Russian citizens use for getting their daily dose of information, it’s a good and effective way of keeping one party in the limelight and belittling everybody else. The opposition gets no media time, but they do get politically motivated arrests and jail time on trumped up or made up charges etc. NGOs funded from abroad are labelled as foreign agents, and while this may not sound like a big deal, it effectively closes down all the election monitoring and human rights groups etc. The communists’ resilience is astounding, but it’s also understandable, because nostalgia is king (and also plays a big part in the current events in Crimea). Besides, they serve their purpose: the message from above is that it’s either us or the commies, and you remember how that ended. It’s the Kremlin’s modus operandi – they keep some nutcases on the payroll or at least let them speak in public so that the rulers can look sane in comparison. (See Zhirinovski and Kiselyov et al.) And they can use them to probe the public opinion.
This, however, is not to say that the entire opposition is necessarily a force for good. While Putin’s derzhava rhetorics worry me, I myself am equally wary of some opposition figures’ nationalistic rhetorics, because even though they tout democratic values, they are also big on Russian nationalism. In some respects, Putin’s derzhava (mighty state) take is more predictable and safer than the nationalist course that would end up much the same way, only worse for the ethnic minorities.
...And I have read that the war was over the South giving the North the finger and trading with Europe directly (cotton for thee, machines for me), thus denying the North a huge market for its industrial output – there were reportedly messages passed between the sides with Lincoln proposing the South that they can keep the slaves as long as they stay in the Union and buy the stuff that the North makes, and the South flipping them the bird because the European stuff was so much better. And that the slavery issue was an afterthought, as Lincoln himself had previously said that he had no right nor plans to force the slavery issue upon the Southern states, and that he had proposed sending the freed slaves of the North to some uninhabited Pacific island in order to avoid living with them in the same country.
So everybody has an opinion about it that they can back up with some documents. There is just so much material to pick from. It’s not unlike Soviet Union where everything could be justified with a citation from Lenin, as the guy had written dozens of tomes of self-contradicting shite.