Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Arkhipovs in:
 • Purshevskoe Cemetery
 • Moscow
 • Moscow Federal City
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov
Birth: Jan. 30, 1926
Death: Aug. 19, 1998

Soviet Union Naval Officer. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he prevented the launch of a nuclear torpedo and therefore a possible nuclear war. His story is to this day unknown to the wider public, although some believe that, as Thomas Blanton (then director of the National Security Archive) expressed it in 2002, "a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world." Arkhipov was born into a peasant family near Moscow. He was educated in the Pacific Higher Naval School and participated in the Soviet war against Japan in August 1945, serving aboard a minesweeper. He transferred to the Caspian Higher Naval School and graduated in 1947. He served in the submarine service aboard boats in the Black Sea, Northern and Baltic Fleets. In July 1961, Arkhipov was appointed deputy commander or executive officer of the new Hotel-class ballistic missile submarine K-19. During its nuclear accident, he backed Captain Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev during the potential mutiny and received a dose of radiation after the accident.[citation needed] This incident is depicted in the American film K-19: The Widowmaker. Soviet submarine B-59, forced to the surface by U.S. Naval forces in the Caribbean near Cuba. On October 27, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph trapped the diesel-powered nuclear-armed Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba and started dropping practice depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. There had been no contact from Moscow for a number of days and, although the submarine's crew had earlier been picking up US civilian radio broadcasts, once B-59 began attempting to hide from its US navy pursuers, it was too deep to monitor any radio traffic, so those on board did not know whether war had broken out. The captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, believing that a war might already have started, wanted to launch a nuclear-tipped torpedo. Three officers on board the submarine Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the second-in-command Arkhipov were authorized to launch the torpedo if agreeing unanimously in favor of doing so. An argument broke out among the three, in which only Arkhipov was against the launch. Although Arkhipov was only second-in-command of submarine B-59, he was actually Commander of the flotilla of submarines including B-4, B-36, and B-130, and of equal rank to Captain Savitsky. Arkhipov eventually persuaded Savitsky to surface the submarine and await orders from Moscow. This presumably averted the nuclear warfare which would have ensued had the torpedo been fired. The submarine's batteries had run very low and the air-conditioning had failed, so it was forced to surface amidst its US pursuers and head home. Washington's message that practice depth charges were being used to signal the submarines to surface never reached B-59, and Moscow claims it has no record of receiving it either. When discussing the Cuban missile crisis in 2002, Robert McNamara stated that we came "very close" to nuclear war, "closer than we knew at the time." In Aleksandr Mozgovoy's 2002 book, Kubinskaya Samba Kvarteta Fokstrotov (Cuban Samba of the Foxtrot Quartet), retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, a participant in the events, presents them less dramatically, saying that Captain Savitsky had merely lost his temper, but eventually calmed down. Arkhipov continued in Soviet Navy service, commanding submarines and later submarine squadrons. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1975 and became head of the Kirov Naval Academy. He was promoted to vice admiral in 1981 and retired in the mid 1980s. He subsequently settled in Zheleznodorozhny, Moscow Oblast, where he died on 19 August 1998 due to radiation poisoning. (bio courtesy of: Wikipedia) 
Purshevskoe Cemetery
Moscow Federal City, Russia
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Dr. William McDonald
Record added: Oct 23, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 99488243
Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov
Added by: Dr. William McDonald
Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov
Added by: Jotvings
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- chris graziano
 Added: Jan. 30, 2016

- Republican
 Added: Jan. 30, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Jan. 30, 2016
There are 34 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.5 after 22 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service