Photo of Stanislav Petrov
© Juliet Butler / Alamy
Reprinted with permission

More about the 1983 incident: 








Stanislav Petrov Honored at the United Nations

Stanislav Petrov was honored in a meeting at the United Nations in New York City Jan. 19, 2006, which he described as his “happiest day in many years.” At the United Nations meeting, The Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with branches in 30 countries, presented Stanislav Petrov with a special World Citizen Award. This is the second such award he has received from that organization (both awards are described further down on this page).

The following day Stanislav Petrov met with renowned American journalist Walter Cronkite at his CBS office in New York City. That interview, in addition to other highlights of Stanislav Petrov’s trip to the United States, were filmed for The Man Who Saved the World, a documentary film by the Danish motion picture company Statement Film. The film premiered Oct. 17, 2014, at the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock, New York. In addition to Stanislav Petrov and Walter Cronkite, The Man Who Saved the World features Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Matt Damon and Robert De Niro. This is the trailer for the film:

During his travels for The Man Who Saved the World, Stanislav Petrov was accompanied by his interpreter, “Galina.” In the film, translator Alexandra Khaimenova interviews Stanislav Petrov. Altogether Stanislav Petrov was in the United States Jan. 14-28, 2006, participating in many meetings and interviews.

Stanislav Petrov revisited the United States in the spring of 2007, traveling to New York, to missile silos in South Dakota, to Las Vegas and the Nevada Test Site, and to San Francisco (all part of filming for the documentary The Man Who Saved the World).

$50,000 Future of Life Award

The $50,000 2018 Future of Life Award has been presented in New York City to honor Stanislav Petrov, who averted a worldwide nuclear war in 1983. Accepting the award honoring Stanislav Petrov, who died May 19, 2017, was his daughter, Elena. The Future of Life Institute, according to its website, is a charity and outreach organization which is currently focused on “keeping artificial intelligence beneficial” and “exploring ways of reducing risks from nuclear weapons and biotechnology.” Details of this award and a photo of the award ceremony can be seen on the Future of Life Institute website.

Stanislav Petrov Wins Dresden Prize

Stanislav Petrov has been awarded the Dresden Preis 2013 (Dresden Prize) for averting a nuclear war in 1983. The award includes $33,000 (25,000 euro), according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti and the international multimedia broadcasting service The Voice of Russia.  The Dresden Prize was presented to Stanislav Petrov at a ceremony in Dresden, Germany, Feb. 17, 2013.

Stanislav Petrov Honored in Germany

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov has been honored with the 2011 German Media Award for averting a potential worldwide nuclear war in 1983. The award was presented to him during a ceremony in Baden Baden, Germany, Feb. 24, 2012. The German Media Award recognizes individuals for significant contributions they have made to world peace.

“The Red Button” Documentary Available

A documentary telling of the nuclear attack warning incident involving Stanislav Petrov has been produced and released by MG Production and LogTv, Ltd. The Red Button (DVD/VHS) is available for purchase from Log In Productions. The documentary consists of extensive interviews with Stanislav Petrov as well as historical information related to the time of the incident.

Stanislav Petrov — World Citizen Award

May 21, 2004

After more than 20 years without any formal recognition of his extraordinary actions in 1983, Stanislav Petrov was officially presented with the World Citizen Award May 21, 2004, in Moscow, Russia, by the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with branches in 30 countries. Here is a sampling of media reports of the award presentation:


The plaque presented to Stanislav Petrov is on redwood,
with gold lettering inscribed on black metal



This special World Citizen Award is presented to Stanislav Petrov for
his courage and judgment on September 26, 1983, when in charge of an
early warning bunker outside of Moscow.

On that fateful day of high tension between the United States and the
Soviet Union, the early warning system reported the U.S. had launched
a missile attack on Russia. Instead of alerting command headquarters,
which may have set in motion a retaliatory nuclear exchange, Colonel
Petrov retained his composure for an agonizing time as alarms blared
with more warnings of an attack, trusting his judgment that the
warning was a false alarm.

Colonel Petrov was correct and his decision may have saved humanity
from a nuclear catastrophe. Dr. Bruce Blair, President of the Center
for Defense Information, and a former U.S. Minuteman Missile Launch
Officer, believes this incident is the closest we have come to
accidental nuclear war.

We are all indebted to Stanislav Petrov, a Hero of our time and
Citizen of the World.

Presented in Moscow, Russia, on May 21, 2004, by the
Association of World Citizens
Headquarters in San Francisco, CA USA
Douglas Mattern, President

January 19, 2006

At the United Nations in New York City on Jan. 19, 2006, in Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, Stanislav Petrov again was honored by the Association of World Citizens with a second World Citizen Award. On the trophy, which is a granite base with a solid glass hand holding the Earth, is this inscription: “The single hand that holds the earth symbolizes your heroic deed on September 26, 1983, that earned you the title: The Man Who Averted Nuclear War.” On the back of the award are inscribed the words, “May the hand now symbolize humanity united to save our world by eliminating nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.”

Australian Senate
Commends Stanislav Petrov

In a motion passed by the Senate in the Parliament of Australia June 23, 2004, Stanislav Petrov was commended for his actions in averting what could have become a worldwide nuclear war in 1983. The motion can be seen in the Senate Journals Internet database.

Douglas Mattern

Perhaps as much or more than any other individual, Douglas Mattern helped increase worldwide public awareness of the actions and heroism of Stanislav Petrov, the Soviet military officer who prevented a potential worldwide nuclear war in 1983. Mr. Mattern was president of the Association of World Citizens in San Francisco, California, until his death in 2011.

Through Mr. Mattern’s efforts, Stanislav Petrov was twice awarded the prestigious World Citizen Award, the second of which was presented to Stanislav Petrov at the United Nations in New York City in 2006.

Mr. Mattern, together with the Russian newspaper The Moscow News, also provided a solution to countless requests from people around the world who wished to write letters or send contributions to Stanislav Petrov. Through the World Citizens Foundation, Mr. Mattern and The Moscow News ensured that all letters and the entire amount of all contributions intended for Stanislav Petrov were forwarded directly to Stanislav Petrov in Russia.

This website,, has long been indebted to Mr. Mattern for providing helpful information related to Stanislav Petrov’s courageous actions in 1983. Mr. Mattern also generously shared with this website several photographs of Stanislav Petrov’s visits to the United States in 2006 and 2007, which can be seen on the Photographs webpage.

Douglas Mattern was a man of many talents and accomplishments, and it can truly be said he has left this world a better place for his having lived in it.



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