For a variety of reasons, Petrov guessed that the alarm was false. He was, of course, correct, and he did not report an attack to his superiors. It is feared that, given the political tensions of the time, Soviet leaders might well have launched a counterattack, which would have elicited a similar response from the U.S.
As it happened, the warning that Petrov received was the result of a confluence of unusual circumstances misinterpreted by a relatively new monitoring system. He did not know this, however, and his failure to report an American attack may well have saved the world from nuclear holocaust. The incident ultimately resulted in changes to the Soviet early warning system.
Petrov received little recognition in his native Russia but has received a number of awards from the West. More information about him and his heroic inaction can be found on Wikipedia.
On this day, it is appropriate that we offer a moment of silence or prayer in thanksgiving for Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov.
|Stanislav Petrov in 2016 (photo by Queery-54)|
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