Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer who is widely credited with helping prevent a nuclear war with the United States, has died aged 77, his son says.
Petrov, whose story was told in a documentary titled “The Man Who Saved the World,” received several international awards, was honored at the United Nations.
In September 1983, Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command center south of Moscow when an alarm went off signalling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. The officer — who had only a few minutes to make a decision and was not sure about the incoming data — dismissed the warning as a false alarm.
Had he told his commanders of an imminent US nuclear strike, the Soviet leadership — locked in an arms race with Washington — might have ordered a retaliatory strike.
Instead the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel reported a system malfunction and an investigation that followed afterwards proved he was right.