Stanislav Petrov Dies at the Age of 77


Stanislav Petrov is remembered as the man who prevented the Russians from engaging in a nuclear war with the United States on the early morning of 26th September 1983. Back then, Stanislav Petrov was 44 years old and was serving in the Soviet Air Defense Forces as a lieutenant colonel. He used to work at the Serpukhov where he was the duty officer during this fateful day. Only a few hours into his shift, the lieutenant colonel was plunged into shock when computers gave a warning that the country was under attack by five Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles. According to the computers, the missiles had originated from an American base. Stanislav Petrov said in an interview that he was in a state of shock 15 seconds later not sure what he would do next. This could only happen in the Cold War tensest period. Barely a month earlier, a Korean Airline plane had been shot by the Soviet army. The plane killed 269 people with one of the victims being a congressman from Georgia. At the same time, the United States through Ronald Reagan had refused to freeze their arms and instead referred to the Soviet Union as the evil empire. As for the Soviet Leader of that time Yuri V. Andropov, he was always fearful that an American attack was imminent.

This was the toughest decision for Stanislav Petrov. Having notified his superiors at the headquarters, they consulted with the soviet president about a possible retaliatory attack. After five minutes on the phone, Stanislav Petrov realized that the launch reports had been as a result of false alarm. Stanislav Petrov said that he managed to avert a nuclear war by trusting his gut decision which he described as a 50-50 decision. Well, Stanislav Petrov has died at the age of 77. He was living in Fryazino, Moscow and was depending on a pension. He is said to have succumbed to death with reports about his death being brought to light by Dmitri Petrov who is his son. Stanislav Petrov was born Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov back on 7th September 1939. While his mother was a nurse, his father was a fighter pilot who even fought in the Second World War. He attended the Kiev Higher Engineering Radio-Technical College of Soviet Air Force after high school. His calm analysis of the situation is said to have averted a possible nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States.


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