On September 26th, 1983 a Soviet officer, Stanislav Petrov, was on duty at the Serpukhov -15 command post in the Moscow Region. His screens showed that 5 missiles with nuclear warheads on board were launched towards the former USSR from the USA. In compliance with the instructions Petrov had, he should have retaliated against the enemy for firing missiles. However, the officer came to the conclusion (which proved right as it became known later) that it was a false alarm, that is, the result of a technical failure.
For a long time this story was top secret. It was declassified only in 1998. Petrov seldom gives interviews. However, in an interview with the Voice of Russia he said that he did not consider himself to be a hero.
"I simply did my work. Nothing heroic about that. I feel uncomfortable while speaking about that. Asked how this happened I always say that this was my work."
However, in 2006 Stanislav Petrov received an award from the Association of World Citizens, an international public organization, in the UN headquarters in New York.
After analyzing the event that occurred 30 years ago, the founding fathers of the Dresden Peace Prize decided that it had its impact on world history. One of the organizers, Director General of Friends of Dresden Deutschland e. V. Heidrun Hannusch, says.
"We believe that the heroic deed of Stanislav Petrov will go down in history as one of the most significant events of the past few decades that contributed to the preservation of peace. Our prize is given for averting a conflict, not for its settlement, and Mr. Petrov averted a third world war – hence he is worthy of this award."
The awarding ceremony that is held annually on February 17th takes place in the Dresden Opera Theatre (the Semperoper). The point is that on February 17th, 1945, the air forces of Anti -Hitler Coalition practically razed Dresden to the ground. This ceremony is symbolic, and in this case, especially, Heidrun Hannusch says.
"By the well-established tradition, the giver of the Dresden Peace Prize is the one way or another is linked with Dresden. In this case, the giver will be a 25-year -old resident of Dresden, who belongs to the generation that would not have survived had it not been for Stanislav Petrov. Had he made a different decision, the whole world would have been destroyed."
The Dresden Peace Prize was established in 2010. Mikhail Gorbachev received the first Dresden Peace Prize for his contribution to nuclear disarmament. Second was Daniel Barenboim, a conductor and a pianist, who received the Dresden Peace Prize for his contribution to the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the third recipient of the Dresden Peace Prize was James Nachtwey, a war photographer.