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, and his 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 the Third World War and a large-scale nuclear war which could have wiped out half of the population of the countries involved. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Stanislav Petrov has received more than 3,715,831 page views. His biography is available in 47 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 46 in 2019). Stanislav Petrov is the 68th most popular military personnel (up from 71st in 2019), the 79th most popular biography from Russia (up from 81st in 2019) and the 4th 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.

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Among military personnels, Stanislav Petrov ranks 68 out of 1,466Before him are Günther von Kluge, Charles X Gustav of Sweden, Seleucus I Nicator, Edward Smith, Ivan Konev, and Bohdan Khmelnytsky. After him are Ferdinand Foch, Hattori Hanzō, Charles de Batz de Castelmore d'Artagnan, Wilhelm Canaris, Andrea Doria, and Joseph Radetzky von Radetz.

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Among people born in 1939, Stanislav Petrov ranks 8Before him are Tina Turner, Ian McKellen, Francis Ford Coppola, Ali Khamenei, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Reuven Rivlin. After him are Amos Oz, Harvey Keitel, Amanda Lear, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Giovanni Trapattoni, and Margaret Atwood. Among people deceased in 2017, Stanislav Petrov ranks 8Before him are Roger Moore, David Rockefeller, Helmut Kohl, Gene Cernan, Chuck Berry, and Zygmunt Bauman. After him are Salvatore Riina, Michael I of Romania, Hugh Hefner, Jeanne Moreau, Jalal Talabani, and Jerry Lewis.

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In Russia

Among people born in Russia, Stanislav Petrov ranks 79 out of 2,688Before him are Peter Carl Fabergé (1846), Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia (1904), Roman Jakobson (1896), Mikhail Kutuzov (1745), Alexander Scriabin (1871), and Ivan Konev (1897). After him are Michael of Russia (1596), Wilhelm Wien (1864), Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893), Mikhail Glinka (1804), Alexandra Kollontai (1872), and Yaroslav the Wise (978).


Among military personnels born in Russia, Stanislav Petrov ranks 4Before him are Vasily Zaitsev (1915), Mikhail Kutuzov (1745), and Ivan Konev (1897). After him are Mikhail Tukhachevsky (1893), Alexander Suvorov (1730), Vasily Chuikov (1900), Aleksandr Vasilevsky (1895), Semyon Budyonny (1883), Johannes Blaskowitz (1883), Andrey Vlasov (1901), and Felix Steiner (1896).