Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov (7 September 1939 – 19 May 2017) was a Soviet military officer.

On 26 September 1983, Petrov defied Soviet military protocol and classified reports by an early-warning system of an incoming missile strike from the United States as a false alarm. Because of this decision, which likely avoided a large-scale nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States, Petrov is often referred to as "the man who saved the world."[1] His decision to report the incident as a false alarm has been described as "the most important decision of all time."[2]


In 2018, Petrov was posthumously awarded the Future of Life Award.[3]

One of the rooms in the Future of Humanity Institute is named after Petrov.

September 26 is recognized as Petrov Day by many members of the rationality and effective altruism communities.

Further reading

Chan, Sewell (2017) Stanislav Petrov, Soviet officer who helped avert nuclear war, is dead at 77, The New York Times, September 18.

Matthews, Dylan (2018) 36 years ago today, one man saved us from world-ending nuclear war, Vox, September 26.

Bright Star Sound. A website dedicated to Stanislav Petrov.

nuclear warfare | Petrov Day | Vasili Arkhipov

  1. ^

    Aksenov, Pavel (2013) Stanislav Petrov: The man who may have saved the world, BBC News, September 23.

  2. ^

    Morris, Ian (2014) War! What Is It Good for? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p. 4.

  3. ^

    Future of Life Institute (2018) Future Of Life Award 2018, Future of Life Institute, September 26.