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Stanislav Petrov

1939 - 2017

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Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (Russian: Станисла́в Евгра́фович Петро́в; 7 September 1939 – 19 May 2017) was a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces who played a key role in the 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident. On 26 September 1983, three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm.His subsequent decision to disobey orders, against Soviet military protocol, is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in a large-scale nuclear war. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Stanislav Petrov has received more than 4,986,326 page views. His biography is available in 49 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 47 in 2019). Stanislav Petrov is the 42nd most popular military personnel (up from 68th in 2019), the 58th most popular biography from Russia (up from 79th in 2019) and the most popular Russian Military Personnel.

Stanislav Petrov is most famous for being the man who prevented a nuclear war. In 1983, he was on duty at a Soviet nuclear early warning station when the system reported that the United States had launched five nuclear missiles. Petrov had the power to launch a retaliatory strike, but he decided to wait and see if the alarm was a false alarm. It turned out to be a false alarm, and he saved the world from a nuclear war.

Memorability Metrics

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    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 49

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 13.17

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 1.99

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

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Among military personnels, Stanislav Petrov ranks 42 out of 1,468Before him are Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, Tariq ibn Ziyad, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Ernst Röhm, Roland, and Prince Eugene of Savoy. After him are Manfred von Richthofen, Flavius Aetius, Gerd von Rundstedt, Alfred Dreyfus, Vasily Zaitsev, and Isoroku Yamamoto.

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Among people born in 1939, Stanislav Petrov ranks 4Before him are Terence Hill, Tina Turner, and Ian McKellen. After him are Ali Khamenei, Francis Ford Coppola, Lee Harvey Oswald, Amanda Lear, Amos Oz, George Lazenby, Harvey Keitel, and Margaret Atwood. Among people deceased in 2017, Stanislav Petrov ranks 4Before him are Charles Manson, Helmut Kohl, and Roger Moore. After him are Zygmunt Bauman, Michael I of Romania, Gene Cernan, David Rockefeller, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jeanne Moreau, Salvatore Riina, and Raymond Kopa.

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In Russia

Among people born in Russia, Stanislav Petrov ranks 58 out of 3,262Before him are Vladimir the Great (958), Boris Godunov (1552), Sergey Lavrov (1950), Gustav Kirchhoff (1824), Andrei Tarkovsky (1932), and Rurik (830). After him are Georg Cantor (1845), Feodor I of Russia (1557), Vasily Zaitsev (1915), Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia (1904), Ivan Turgenev (1818), and Peter II of Russia (1715).


Among military personnels born in Russia, Stanislav Petrov ranks 1After him are Vasily Zaitsev (1915), Mikhail Kutuzov (1745), Ivan Konev (1897), Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893), Alexander Suvorov (1730), Konstantin Rokossovsky (1896), Vasily Chuikov (1900), Aleksandr Vasilevsky (1895), Semyon Budyonny (1883), Andrey Vlasov (1901), and Johannes Blaskowitz (1883).