Military Review

Stanislav Petrov. The man who prevented a nuclear war

22
19 of May 2017 of the year in the Moscow region of Fryazino retired Soviet officer Stanislav Evgrafovich Petrov died, who on the night from 25 to 26 of September 1983 actually prevented a nuclear war, which could have started due to a false alert of the missile attack warning system. The system reported an attack from the United States. Stanislav Petrov became one of the main heroes of the Cold War, books were written about him and even a documentary film was shot, it was awarded at the UN headquarters. At the same time, he himself never considered himself a hero. In an interview with reporters "Komsomolskaya Pravda"He said:" I saved the world? No, well, what kind of hero am I! ”That September 1983 incident he called a working episode, which was very difficult, but in which he managed to work well.


Fast forward to that 1983 year. The Cold War is in full swing, its new round begins. 8 March, speaking before the National Association of Evangelicals USA in Florida, the American President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." On April 4, in the Malaya Kuril Ridge of 6, American A7 attack aircraft entered Soviet airspace to a depth of 2 to 30 kilometers and conducted conditional bombing on the territory of Green Island, making several visits to attack ground targets. September 1 of the same year, the Soviet fighter-interceptor knocks South Korean passenger "Boeing-747", the plane deviated from the usual route on 500 kilometers, twice violating the airspace of the USSR.

The Cold War at any time could turn into a hot one, precisely in such a situation, on the night from 25 to 26 in September of 1983, Lieutenant-Colonel Stanislav Evgrafovich Petrov took up combat duty. He was operational duty officer at the command post of the missile attack warning system in the secret part of Serpukhov-15. For ordinary people, the Center for Observing the Celestial Body was here, but in reality no one here was watching the Celestial Body. Under the center sign, one of the most secret objects of the Soviet Ministry of Defense was hiding. A year earlier, the Oko-1 system, a satellite-based system for detecting launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, entered combat duty. This system was part of the space echelon of the missile attack warning system.

Stanislav Petrov. The man who prevented a nuclear war

In 0 hours 15 minutes at the command post of the missile attack warning system (MNS) in the secret part of the Serpukhov-15 computer unexpectedly issued information: an intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the US - its target is the Soviet Union. As Stanislav Evgrafovich later recalled: “The car showed that the reliability of the information is the highest”. “The siren screamed as announced, the big red letters START were highlighted on the top of the screen. This means that the ICBM went exactly. I looked down at my combat crew. At this time, someone even rose from their seats, they began to look back at me. I had to raise my voice in order for everyone to immediately take over their posts. It was necessary to verify the information received. It could not be that it actually was a ballistic missile with warheads on board ..., ”noted Petrov.

The existing missile warning system made it possible to track foreign launches of ballistic missiles and civilian launch vehicles. The launch was tracked at the moment of the missile’s exit from the mine. All levels of verification confirmed: rocket released. “Actually, what was required of the people? The car gave us all introductory data, provided an “evidence base”, and the duty officer at the command post, according to the instructions, had to report upstairs. Already there the question of a response start was resolved, ”the officer recalled. However, Stanislav Petrov doubted that with a real attack on the USSR, the missiles should have started from several bases at once, and not from one, as the system showed.

- All the data that were processed by our computer were duplicated to the higher authorities. They were surprised: why there is no confirmation from the shift on duty? A couple of minutes later a bell rang at the command post, and a government call was ringing. Picking up the phone, I reported to the caller: "I give you false information." The attendant briefly replied: "Understood." Stanislav Petrov is still grateful to this man, who did not force the situation, did not break, but communicated with him clearly, without any questions or phrases. At that moment it was especially important. At this time, the system has notified everyone on the KP about the next launch. Now she noted that the second ballistic missile had gone. Again the letters “START” lit up big. After that, within three minutes, three more messages followed, and the inscription “START” was replaced with an even more ominous “MISSILE ATTACK”.

Minuteman III rocket launch

These moments have become one of the most difficult, not only in Petrov’s officer career, but throughout his life. For a very limited time, he needed to analyze a large number of various factors, after which he would try to make the right decision. Accepting the wrong decision in these conditions threatened to start a real nuclear war that could put an end to our whole world. Therefore, Lieutenant-Colonel Petrov raised all the services available to him. Visual control specialists, who were peering at the screens of video monitoring devices - VKU (it is worth noting that the "visuals" were ordinary soldiers) did not see anything. On the screens of the ISU should have displayed a bright "tail" from the nozzle of the launched rocket. The fact that the allegedly launched missiles could not be detected was also reported by specialists of over-horizontal radar.

From the moment of launching the ballistic missile by the enemy until the decision was made to carry out a response launch, the USSR leadership had no more than 28 minutes Personally, Stanislav Petrov had 15 minutes in order to make the only right decision. He rightly doubted that the United States decided to launch a nuclear strike on the territory of the USSR - he, like all other officers, was instructed that during a real nuclear attack the missiles would be launched from several bases at once (the Americans had 9 such bases). After analyzing all the information received: the fact that the launches were made from one point, only a few ICBMs took off, and the fact that the “visuals” did not record any traces of missiles, and the over-the-horizon radar did not detect the target, Lieutenant Colonel Petrov decided that the alarm was false. He reported on the false operation of the system up the chain. Later, Commander of the Missile and Aerospace Defense Colonel-General Yuri Votintsev, arriving at the command post, reported on the false triggering of the system to Commander-in-Chief and Minister of Defense Dmitry Fedorovich Ustinov.

An investigation conducted after the incident revealed that the cause of the system failure was the illumination of the sensors of Soviet satellites by sunlight, which reflected from high-altitude clouds. As Stanislav Petrov later recalled, they first wanted to be encouraged and promised to even submit to a reward, but instead they were reprimanded for a blank combat magazine. And already in 1984, he resigned, never reaching the rank of colonel. Together with his family, he settled in Fryazino near Moscow, where he received an apartment. Contrary to rumors, this happened for purely personal reasons, Petrov’s wife became seriously ill, so he decided to leave the service. At the same time, the September incident in Serpukhov-15 remained a state secret until the beginning of the 1990-s, even the officer’s wife knew nothing about that duty.


It is worth noting that such cases occurred not only in the USSR. According to Soviet intelligence, the American early-warning systems for a missile attack also malfunctioned and gave false alarms, bringing humanity to a horrendous catastrophe. In one case, the Americans even raised their strategic bombers, who had reached the North Pole, from where they planned to launch a massive missile attack on the territory of the Soviet Union. In another case, the Americans declared an alarm, taking the migration of bird flocks for Soviet missiles. Fortunately, it was possible to recognize similar cases in time, therefore business did not reach the launch of a response of a ballistic missile.

Returning to Stanislav Evgrafovich, it can be noted that real fame came to him after they started writing and making programs about him in Europe and the USA. For example, in September 1998, Karl Schumacher, the undertaker by profession and political activist from the German town of Oberhausen, read a little material in the newspaper Bild, in which a Soviet officer was mentioned. A note in the Bild newspaper said that a man who managed to prevent a nuclear conflict lives in a small Fryazino apartment, his wife died of cancer, and his pension is not enough for life. About this Schumacher himself told reporters "Jellyfish". Karl Schumacher invited Stanislav Petrov to Germany to personally tell the locals about this episode of the Cold War. Stanislav responded to the proposal and arrived in Germany, gave an interview to a local television channel. Also, several local newspapers wrote about his arrival.

In this way, история Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov became known around the world. After this trip, all the world's largest media outlets wrote about him, including Spiegel, Die Welt, Die Zeit, Radio1, CBS, Daily Mail and Washington Post. Because of this, the duty became one of the main symbolic episodes of the Cold War, along with a visit to the Soviet Union in 1983 by an American girl Samantha Smith or negotiations between US President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985-86. The history of Petrov was described in some detail in the book The Dead Hand by David Hoffman, one of the main world works on the period of the Cold War.


The merits of the Soviet officer were highly appreciated by the world community. 19 January 2006 in New York at the UN headquarters Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was presented with a crystal figurine that depicted a hand holding a globe. An inscription was made on the statuette: "To the man who prevented a nuclear war." 24 February 2012 in Baden-Baden, he was awarded the award in the field of German media for the year 2011. And 17 February 2013, Petrov became the winner of the Dresden Prize, awarded to people for the prevention of armed conflict.

In 2014, the documentary film The Man Who Saved the World was released. As Stanislav Petrov himself later told in an interview with the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, who played one of the main roles in the film, actor Kevin Costner sent him a money transfer in the amount of 500 dollars - in gratitude for the fact that he did not raise missiles with nuclear warheads on board . It may be noted that in the world Petrov may have been even more famous than in his native country.

Stanislav Petrov died in his own apartment, where he lived all his life at the age of 77. No mass media wrote about his death then, it became known only four months later when the old comrades began to call him to wish him happy birthday and heard this terrible thing from his son news. As I wrote in September 2017,Rossiyskaya Gazeta, The man who saved the world died alone. It happened quietly and unnoticed by the world he saved. He was also buried in the same way: in a distant grave of an ordinary city cemetery, without a farewell salute and sounds of a military orchestra.
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  1. like this
    like this 12 October 2017 05: 37 New
    +2
    such "heroes" need to be shot.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 12 October 2017 13: 42 New
      11
      Quote: here you go
      such "heroes" need to be shot.

      For fulfilling his duties? belay Well, wait the next time for the next flare, an automatic confirmation of the truth of the operation and the subsequent Start command to all Strategic Missile Forces. And then let the ants argue with the cockroaches - was the real launch of ICBMs or a glare in the upper atmosphere caused the system to work?
      Reliability SPRIAU and its ability to recognize true starts did not give and do not give her the opportunity to work in automatic mode. And the duty of the duty officer is to collect information from all sources available to him and give confirmed information for the limited time available to him. Because the price of an error is too high.
      1. like this
        like this 13 October 2017 20: 06 New
        0
        fulfilled his duties? you served in the army? he essentially n ..... l country
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Huumi
      Huumi 22 July 2018 13: 43 New
      0
      Well, we’ll shoot you.
  2. moskowit
    moskowit 12 October 2017 06: 36 New
    +3
    Returning to Stanislav Yevgrafovich, it can be noted that real fame came to him after they started writing and filming programs in Europe and the USA about him. For example, in September 1998, Karl Schumacher, an undertaker by profession and a political activist from the German town of Oberhausen, read a small article in the Bild newspaper that mentioned a Soviet officer. A note in the Bild newspaper said that a man who managed to prevent a nuclear conflict lives in a small Fryazino apartment, his wife died of cancer, and there is not enough pension for a living. Schumacher himself told reporters of Medusa about this. Karl Schumacher invited Stanislav Petrov to Germany to tell the locals personally about this episode of the Cold War. Stanislav responded to the proposal and, having arrived in Germany, gave an interview to the local television channel. Also, several local newspapers wrote about his arrival at once.

    I wonder where and how the information was received by the Build newspaper. "
    1. Mordvin 3
      Mordvin 3 12 October 2017 08: 37 New
      +4
      Quote: moskowit
      I wonder where and how the information was received by the Build newspaper. "

      From the Americans, I guess. These back in the year around the 91th Petrov found. They kind of awarded him. (I don’t remember exactly, look for laziness)
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 12 October 2017 07: 42 New
    +2
    Anything can be ...
  4. Varyag77
    Varyag77 12 October 2017 07: 42 New
    +3
    An ambiguous story is that. Somehow, even not that. I don’t want to offend anyone, but why does it seem to me that the hero of the article didn’t try on a hat for Senka? Who is he to make a DECISION ??. His business is veal. Report where necessary. A decision will be made FOR HIM. And if it was a real launch? Well, you never know. Americans went crazy at the same base. How many victims? couple of millions? How likely is it that they would be intercepted by air defense, without an appropriate warning? I think it is unlikely. So maybe it was for this reason that he did not receive any honors and awards from us?
    1. Alex_59
      Alex_59 12 October 2017 10: 29 New
      +5
      Quote: Varyag77
      if it was a real launch? Well, you never know. Americans went crazy at the same base. How many victims? couple of millions? How likely is it that they would be intercepted by air defense, without an appropriate warning?

      Even with the appropriate warning, the ICBM is not able to intercept. But the missile defense system can repulse the blow relying only on its own target designation. The trouble is that only one city is covered by missile defense - Moscow. And then not at 100%.
      An early warning system about an attack is needed not so much for transmitting missile defense information as for deciding on a retaliatory strike. Therefore, if the signal were not rejected as false, a decision could be made to retaliate against the United States. And this, in turn, almost automatically caused a real, and not a false, blow in response from the United States.
  5. XII Legion
    XII Legion 12 October 2017 07: 43 New
    18
    Personally, Stanislav Petrov had 15 minutes to make the only right decision.

    Yes, being able to make the right decision is crucial. Yes, even with a lack of time.
    I have not read about this case in detail before - thanks to the author
  6. midshipman
    midshipman 12 October 2017 07: 44 New
    +2
    But no one writes and does not know how Marshal E.Ya. Savitsky in one day weaned the Americans from violating our airspace in the east of the country. He used four MiG-31Ps for this. And the whole command of the USSR was well aware of the story described by S. Yuferyov. I have the honor.
  7. Vard
    Vard 12 October 2017 08: 29 New
    +4
    Then everything is clear and understandable to everyone ... and in hindsight we are all heroes ... but here and now ... well done, real officer ...
  8. Alsur
    Alsur 12 October 2017 10: 45 New
    +3
    This topic (not fulfilling the order and their duties by this officer and other Strategic Missile Forces officers) is being bombarded by the Western media, with one single purpose - to raise a grain of doubt among the current Strategic Missile Forces officers, and to give others a clear signal that they will be kindly treated if at the hour “not to fulfill the oath, and the West will go unpunished after a decapitating strike against Russia. All this is an element of hybrid warfare. And the topic comes up with enviable regularity. I would advise the West to look at its role in this event and not make provocations on such a serious issue.
  9. Alsur
    Alsur 12 October 2017 10: 49 New
    +2
    Quote: Vard
    Then everything is clear and understandable to everyone ... and in hindsight we are all heroes ... but here and now ... well done, real officer ...

    From the same opera, you do not fulfill the oath and you are a hero, here and now is the hour. And then we'll see, the acupuncture authorities will sort it out.
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 12 October 2017 14: 22 New
      +4
      Quote: ALSur
      From the same opera, you do not fulfill the oath and you are a hero, here and now is the hour. And then we'll see, the acupuncture authorities will sort it out.

      What are the occupation authorities? If the OD would confirm the information about the launch of ICBMs on the basis of only one false positive of the SPRJAU, only rats and cockroaches would occupy us.
      The responsibility of the OD is precisely to verify and confirm the truth or falsehood of the information issued by SPRIAU. Because there were false alarms in the system both with us and with them.
  10. Alsur
    Alsur 12 October 2017 10: 59 New
    +1
    I have not read about this case in detail before - thanks to the author

    Like so:

    https://topwar.ru/24357-30-let-nazad-oficer-petro
    v-predotvratil-yadernuyu-voynu.html
    https://topwar.ru/amp:21140-tak-sovershal-ili-net
    -podpolkovnik-stanislav-petrov-podvig.html
    https://topwar.ru/amp:125828-40-minut-do-tretey-m
    irovoy.html
    https://m.pikabu.ru/story/pikabu_a_tyi_znal_pro_y
    etogo_geroya_realnaya_istoriya_99865
    https://m.pikabu.ru/story/petrov_stanislav_evgraf
    ovich__chelovek_kotoryiy_spas_mir_3062435
    https://m.pikabu.ru/story/chelovekkotoryiy_predot
    vratil_yadernoy_voynu_4107400

    Paul runet behind this topic, the topic has not cooled down for more than a year, but he did not see, how so?
  11. SMP
    SMP 12 October 2017 11: 56 New
    0
    Quote: Vard
    Then everything is clear and understandable to everyone ... and in hindsight we are all heroes ... but here and now ... well done, real officer ...


    drinks I join, I read this article a long time ago.
    26.02.2013/16/02, XNUMX:XNUMX | Daria Zagvozdin, the man who prevented a nuclear war
  12. Varyag77
    Varyag77 12 October 2017 13: 42 New
    +1
    Quote: Alex_59
    Quote: Varyag77
    if it was a real launch? Well, you never know. Americans went crazy at the same base. How many victims? couple of millions? How likely is it that they would be intercepted by air defense, without an appropriate warning?

    Even with the appropriate warning, the ICBM is not able to intercept. But the missile defense system can repulse the blow relying only on its own target designation. The trouble is that only one city is covered by missile defense - Moscow. And then not at 100%.
    An early warning system about an attack is needed not so much for transmitting missile defense information as for deciding on a retaliatory strike. Therefore, if the signal were not rejected as false, a decision could be made to retaliate against the United States. And this, in turn, almost automatically caused a real, and not a false, blow in response from the United States.

    Well, in his years, the abbreviation ABM has not been used as far as I know. Nevertheless, his task was to report. The decision to strike (or not) was clearly not in his competence. Our missile defense system is covered by the central missile defense system how powerful is the issue.
    I repeat, my opinion is that he did wrong. And by the way, where is the truth? In a recent article here at VO, it was said that he reported. In this all by myself. Where is the truth then?
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 12 October 2017 14: 27 New
      +3
      Quote: Varyag77
      Well, in his years, the abbreviation ABM has not been used as far as I know. Nevertheless, his task was to report. The decision to strike (or not) was clearly not in his competence.

      Not just to report, but to confirm. The system reported upstairs.
      - All data that was processed by our computer, duplicated and higher authorities. There were in surprise: why from the shift on duty does not come confirmations? A couple of minutes later a call rang on the CP, they called on government communications. I picked up the phone and reported to the call officer: "I will give you false information." The attendant answered shortly: "I understand."

      The lieutenant on the telephone could simply report back. And the task of OD is to verify the truth or falsehood of the operation of the control system and after that confirm or refute its signal. To do this, he had duplicate data from visual and radar control.
  13. Bersaglieri
    Bersaglieri 12 October 2017 21: 49 New
    +1
    “A man who thoroughly knew the materiel” (c) And with a “false response”, he did the right thing. Eternal memory to him!
  14. Military Specialist
    Military Specialist 12 October 2017 22: 12 New
    +2
    The article is amateurish ... another mythology ... And all from the dense nature of many people and, of course, the banal ignorance of this area. The decision on retaliatory actions when launching a nuclear missile strike is never made according to the first echelon of the SPRN (space system), but only when the strike is confirmed by means of the second echelon (radar SPRN). Let’s keep silent about other channels ... In this connection, what kind of salvation of the world can we talk about? It’s just that the guy knew quite well the real capabilities of his system for that period of its functioning, as, incidentally, many other officers who occupied the chair of the operational duty officer. It is enough to say that there were many such cases then, but Petrov fell “lucky" to become famous.
    1. passerby5
      passerby5 13 October 2017 07: 51 New
      0
      maybe more correctly, but! as they say at the right time in the right place. and when it was triggered and during that very first conversation that some journalist heard there. and give the current
  15. Fuzelir
    Fuzelir 13 October 2017 16: 07 New
    +1
    Remember, Lord ... It happens so that at the right time in the right place SUCH a man turned out to be!
  16. Huumi
    Huumi 22 July 2018 13: 45 New
    0
    Kevin mother translated his costner as much as $ 500! -That's a sum of money! And why did he get these 500 dollars?