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Stanislav Petrov (born c. 1939) is a retired Russian Army colonel who, on September 26, 1983, averted a potential nuclear war by refusing to accept that missiles had been launched against the USSR by the United States, despite the indication given by his computerised early warning systems. The Soviet computer reports were later shown to have been in error, and Petrov is credited with preventing World War III and the devastation of much of the Earth by nuclear weapons. Because of military secrecy and political and international differences, Petrov's actions were kept secret until 1998.