‘The Man Who Saved the World’ Dies in Russia (Download PDF)


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Stanislav Petrov a Soviet military officer credited with helping prevent US-Russia nuclear war died at the age of 77: Petrov dismissed a warning about US nuclear strike as a false alarm. The probe later proved that Petrov was right and prevented the war.

Image of The Man who Saved the World

Image of The Man Who Saved the World

Image of The Man who Saved the World

  • Petrov received several international awards and was honoured at the United Nations.

  • Petrov lived in a small town outside Moscow with his death making headlines in Russia and abroad only months later

Petrov’s Story

  • In September 1983, 44-year-old Petrov was a lieutenant colonel on duty at a secret command centre south of Moscow when an alarm went off signaling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.

  • Petrov had only a few minutes to make a decision and dismissed the warning as a false alarm.

  • Had he told his commanders of an imminent US nuclear strike, the Soviet leadership would have ordered a retaliatory strike.

  • Petrov reported a system malfunction and an investigation proved him right.

  • Several months later Petrov received an award “for services to the Fatherland” but the incident at the control centre was kept secret for many years.


  • In 1984, he left the military and settled in the town of Fryazino some 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Moscow.

  • Petrov’s story only became known after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and he was subject of media reports in Russia and abroad.

  • “The Man Who Saved the World”, a documentary film directed by Danish filmmaker Peter Anthony and narrated by US actor Kevin Costner, was released in 2014.

- Published/Last Modified on: September 27, 2017


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