The Sokolov Defection describes the CIA-assisted desertion-attempt by Soviet weapons scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov to flee to the United States of America. It lasted from early September to October 1962 and ended in failure as the U.S. was forced to turn Sokolov back over to the Soviets in order to end the Cuban Missile Crisis Sokolov's defection had triggered.


In 1962, Soviet scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov sought to defect to the United States, having become fearful that the Soviets would maliciously tamper with his work. After Sokolov had approached the CIA, special forces commander Major Zero initiated an operation to rescue him.

At first, Major Zero used a mole to get Sokolov's family out of the Soviet Union, and take them to America. Sokolov's own CIA-supported defection began in early September 1962. Within six weeks, Sokolov had made it to Berlin. However, he had become exhausted by having traveled over 600 miles in such a short period of time so he was checked into a hospital in West Berlin.


One week after checking Sokolov into the hospital, the Cuban Missile Crisis came about. On October 28th, Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles the Soviets had applied on Cuba on the condition that Sokolov be immediately returned to the Soviet Union to finish his work on the nuclear weapon the Soviets were developing in secret.

Major Zero turned Sokolov over to Soviet agents, but secretly promised him that he would rescue him again. Although Sokolov was forced to return to the Soviet Union, his family remained safely under the CIA's protection, as Khrushchev made no stipulations regarding Sokolov's family.

Two years later, in 1964, Major Zero formed the unofficial FOX Unit and recruited its first agent, a man who would later become known by the codename Big Boss, to rescue Sokolov in an operation called the Virtuous Mission. This would lead to an incident known as Operation Snake Eater.