'The Man Who Saved The World' Dies in Russian Federation

But Petrov correctly identified the reading as a fake and it was later confirmed to be nothing more than sunlight reflecting off of some clouds

Petrov was the officer monitoring Moscow's early warning missile defense system at the height of the Cold War in 1983.

Lt Col Stanislav Petrov was 44 years old and working at a missile detection bunker south of Moscow on 26 September 1983.

It's truly incredible that the world survived the Cold War. The episode led the US and the Soviets to exchange warnings and threats. You have to hope that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un's nuclear rhetoric is just propaganda-tinted bluster - that's not a great position to be in, but it's far better than the only logical alternative.

Protocol required Petrov to report an attack to his superiors within fifteen minutes of its detection, a choice that could have likely triggered a retaliatory nuclear offensive against the USA and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. "But we knew that every second of procrastination took away valuable time, that the Soviet Union's military and political leadership needed to be informed without delay. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan", he told the BBC.

Petrov sensed something wasn't adding up. On Sept. 26, Soviet radar incorrectly detected a missile inbound from the United States. Ars also wrote about Petrov in our 2015 feature on Exercise Able Archer. He didn't completely trust it. Luckily, Petrov disobeyed what simply didn't feel right to him. It was five missiles.

Petrov's training was rigorous, his instructions very clear and the system was telling him America had launched a missile, then a second, then a third.

Guessing that a genuine American attack would have involved hundreds of missiles, he put the alarm down to a computer malfunction.

"Twenty-three minutes later I realised that nothing had happened. If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it", he recalled. "It was such a relief".

That night, just past midnight, the Oko system signaled that a single United States missile had been launched. And while the Cuban Missile Crisis has been widely examined, Petrov's actions have received much less attention.

Petrov died in May 2017, but the world is only just finding out now. He had long since retired and was living alone.

"A minute later the siren went off again".

German film-maker Karl Schumacher, who first brought Petrov's story to an worldwide audience, telephoned him to wish him a happy birthday on 7 September only to be informed by his son, Dmitry Petrov, that he had passed away. Instead, he reached Petrov's son, Dmitri, who said his father had died in May. He received a number of global awards during the final years of his life.

Stanislav Petrov, the man credited with preventing a global nuclear disaster, died in May, the German newspaper Waz reports.

Accolades would only come years later after blogger Karl Schumacher convinced Petrov to travel to Germany with him, where his story could be told.

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