Stanislav Petrov
1939 - 2017
BORN
1939
DIED
2017
MOSCOW (AP) — Stanislav Petrov, a former Soviet military officer known in the West as "the man who saved the world" for his role in averting a nuclear war over a false missile warning at the height of the Cold War, has died at 77.

Petrov's German friend, Karl Schumacher, said Tuesday that he died on May 19. Schumacher called Petrov earlier this month to wish him a happy birthday, but was told by Petrov's son Dmitry that his father had died. The Russian state Zvezda TV station only reported the death on Tuesday.

Petrov was on night duty at the Soviet military's early warning facility outside Moscow on Sept. 26, 1983, when an alarm went off, signaling the launch of several U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles. The 44-year-old lieutenant colonel had to quickly determine whether the attack was real. He chose to consider it a false alarm, which it was.

The incident was particularly harrowing as it happened at one of the tensest periods of the Cold War when the Soviet Union appeared to genuinely fear a surprise U.S. nuclear attack.

A few weeks earlier, the Soviets had shot down a passenger plane flying to South Korea from the U.S., suspecting it of spying, killing all 269 people aboard. The United States, after a series of provocative military maneuvers, was preparing for a major NATO exercise that simulated preparations for a nuclear attack.

In a 2015 interview with The Associated Press, Petrov recalled the excruciating moments at the secret Serpukhov-15 control center when the fate of the world was in his hands.

"I realized that I had to make some kind of decision, and I was only 50/50," Petrov told the AP.

The responsibility was enormous.

If he had judged it a real launch, the top Soviet military brass and the Kremlin would have had no time for extra analysis in a few minutes left before the incoming nuclear-tipped missiles hit Soviet territory. They would have likely ordered a retaliatory strike, triggering a nuclear war.

"It was this quiet situation and suddenly the roar of the siren breaks in and the command post lights up with the word 'LAUNCH,'" Petrov told the AP. "This hit the nerves. I was really taken aback. Holy cow!"

Within minutes of the first alarm, the siren sounded again, warning of a second U.S. missile launch. Soon, the system was reporting that five missiles had been launched.

Petrov recalled standing up as the alarm siren blared and seeing that the others were all looking at him in confusion.

"My team was close to panic and it hit me that if panic sets in then it's all over," he said.

Petrov told his commander that the system was giving false information. He was not at all certain, but he was driven by the fact that Soviet ground radar could not confirm a launch. The radar system picked up incoming missiles only well after any launch, but he knew it to be more reliable than the satellites.

The false alarm was later determined to have been caused by a malfunction of the satellite, which mistook the reflection of the sun off high clouds for a missile launch.

Petrov was not rewarded for his actions. In fact, he received a reprimand for failing to correctly fill the duty log and retired from the military the following year.

Although his commanding officer did not support Petrov at the time, he was the one who revealed the incident after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. If Col. Gen. Yury Votintsev had not spoken out, Petrov said he himself "would have forgotten about it like a bad dream."

After his story was told, Petrov has received accolades, international awards and became known as "the man who saved the world."

But his role won him little fame in his homeland. He continued to live in a small, unkempt apartment in the Moscow suburb of Fryazino. There have been no official reports or statements about his death from any Russian government agency.

Schumacher said it was important for him to let the world know about Petrov's passing because "we owe this man a lot."

Written by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.




Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Published by The Telegraph on Sep. 19, 2017.
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53 Entries
I love you
Human ity
Friend
March 21, 2021
I have learnt too late of your actions to thank you in the first life, but I thank you nonetheless for the actions you took that meant that I could grow up in a world that otherwise would not have been.
To the many people whose actions you represent, I thank you and them. Your life really mattered and may mine makes as great a difference as yours.
Albert Mugisha
March 27, 2020
I am sure you walk with the angels now. I thank you for my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren.
I will be forever in your debt.
"Death is not the Extinguishing of the Light; It is the putting out of the Lamp, because the Dawn has come"
Michael Cornett
Friend
May 14, 2019
A man is not truly dead if his name is still spoken. Yours will not be forgotten!
D. Reynolds
October 1, 2018
God always puts his angels in the right place at the right time. Stanislav, we are very grateful for your sound judgement and grace under pressure. All my respect.
Dan Kieliszewski
September 27, 2018
the world owes him everything god bless a great man
September 13, 2018
This amazing man should be honoured in every country on the planet. What gave him the sheer courage and strength to ignore what his computers were telling him defies belief but thank the dear Lord that he was there when the world needed him, thank you Stanislav, you were an amazing man!!
robin biles
Significant_other
February 8, 2018
Sending my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Petrov at this time of great loss. Soon the day will come when war and fighting will not be and all weponry will be turned into farming implements that will be used to beautify the earth. May this promise of true peace give you hope for the future and comfort at this difficult time
Cindy
October 18, 2017
I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family for their loss. May you find comfort and help in God during this time of mourning.
October 12, 2017
Valenda Newell
October 2, 2017
carrie fisher
October 2, 2017
A real live hero rest in peace, my sincere condolences for your loss.
October 1, 2017
My condolences on your loss.
September 30, 2017
Stan was a great guy, it's amazing knowing how strong a human is. Hopefully I'll see you soon, looking forward to it. Revaluation 21:3,4
September 30, 2017
My condolences to the family may you endure this difficult time. Phillipians 4:6,7

NC
September 30, 2017
We are so very sorry to hear that Stanislav Petrova death. We thank him for his quick thinking before things got out of control. God also promised that the earth will stand til indifinite. Hope to see you in Paradise which our creator has promised. My deepest and sincere condolences to your families and friends.
Patricia DeStefano
September 29, 2017
I never knew of this. It sounds like this very wise man was never given the credit he deserved. Sorry for his loss and sorry we as humans never knew of his story.
M Salerno
September 28, 2017
My heartfelt condolences and prayers for Stanislav's family. May God grant solace to the family and acquaintances during this most challenging time. Stanislav's was truly a brilliant and brave man full of integrity. God has a perfect memory and will soon fulfill his promise to end all wars. Stanislav will truly be missed. With Love & Prayers
September 26, 2017
May the God of all peace bring comfort to the Petrov family and friends at this difficult time.
Carlotta
September 25, 2017
"Stanislav's Contribution in preventing mass destruction is very much appreciated. May this verses be a source of comfort. Jeremiah 29:11"
Mrs. Ta
September 25, 2017
Matthew McGuire
September 25, 2017
Mr Petrov thank you for what you did for all of us. You let us all go about our lives. I hope you have had a good life, you are certainly a good man. God bless you sir and I hope your friends and family will find peace. Thank you Mr Petrov.
Liz
September 24, 2017
I am sorry for your loss. I am so thankful for his insight,many of us may not be in existence. Best wishes to the family. I hope that precious memories will help you through your pain.
MV
September 23, 2017
Thank you Stanislav Petrov! May the Petrov famiiy be honored.
Del
September 23, 2017
Godspeed, Stanislav Petrov. May the grief at your passing be short for your loved ones. May the world that you helped save from war and destruction always remember you, your courage and your heroic actions. Thank you for what you did from me, my wife and children, my grandchildren, and from my entire family.
Patrick Foss
September 22, 2017
Rest in peace Mr Petrov.
Stef Smith
September 22, 2017
Michael Baxley
September 22, 2017
So sorry to hear about the passing of Stanislav. May his family and friends continue to draw close to the God of all comfort during this time.
Chanell
September 22, 2017
You have my deepest sympathy for the death of your loved one. Losing someone you love is really hard to deal with. So please find comfort in God because he promises at Psalms 9:9 "He will become a sincere refuge in times of distress."
September 22, 2017
Thank you for your wisdom and courage. We owe you IMMEASURABLE gratitude. God bless you, sir.

Love and condolences to his family.
Janell LaRue
September 21, 2017
RIP
R D
September 21, 2017
God Bless Mr. Petrov. My deepest sympathy to the Petrov family.
September 20, 2017
You are thee GIANT of all Men Mr. Petrov. My belief is you deserved more recognition for being "calm , cool and collected". Because of your coolness under well perceived FIRE, 100's of million of people are still alive today do to your professionalism. You Sir are a HERO!! Hugs to You and your family.
Stephen Johnson
September 20, 2017
My condolences to his family. He used quick thinking. His actions confirmed the truthfulness of God's word that a generation is going and a generation is coming but the earth remains forever. The earth will last forever. My prayers are with his family. Ecclesiastes 1:4.
C Wilson
September 20, 2017
Underappreciated, unrewarded, and not respected for saving the world from tragedy. We have all been extremely blessed to have had this man grace our earth with his presence. And, any moment of happiness or enjoyment we all may have experienced, we can thank him for! God bless you Pet and may you now receive all the reward that you deserve. Prayers go out to his family and for his memory.
Bobby Wilcox
September 20, 2017
Gina Erdman
September 20, 2017
The world thanks you.
Geri de Seve
September 20, 2017
My heartfelt sympathy to the family on the passing of your love one please accept my heartfelt sympathy for your loss.may the god of all comforts you during this difficult time.
Cy
September 20, 2017
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
September 20, 2017
May your soul soar and may you feel the endless gratitude for your clear minded love of this earth and its people, from those who benefitted from your wise actions.
September 20, 2017
celeste
September 20, 2017
Thank you sir for your quick thinking and understanding of the situation. I regret that your country failed to acknowledge your contribution to peace.
Thomas Day
September 20, 2017
First time I learned of this..Thanks Mr Petrov for saving the world from such a disaster
John Manning
September 20, 2017
May we all be grateful for a man whose cool and level thinking averted a disaster beyond description...May God bless Stanislav Petrov.
Les Breese
September 20, 2017
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
September 20, 2017
Truly sorry to hear about Stanislav Petrov's passing. His fine legacy will surely be remembered. I hope to meet him in Paradise! (Luke23:43)
September 20, 2017
Thank You...
Elizabeth Bryant
September 20, 2017
Rest in Peace
Scott Chamberland
September 20, 2017
Thank you for your quick thinking sir. You saved the would. Bless you!
Bill Arnold
September 19, 2017
Daniel Bellantonio
September 19, 2017
We will not forget you.
September 19, 2017
you did the right thing., good Russian
m.a. artines
September 19, 2017
We'll miss you !
Adrian Barnette
September 19, 2017
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