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Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov

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Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov
Николай Степанович Соколов

MPO Sokolov 02


Biographical information
Also known as Prividyenie (Ghost)
Nationality Flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Russian
Born c. 1905 – c. 1914[1]
Age 50s (1964)[1]
Physical description
Eye color Brown
Hair color Black
Ethnicity Caucasian
Career and family information
Affiliation(s) KGB
Occupation Rocket scientist
Notable family and relationship(s) Wife and daughter
Metal Gear information
Main appearance(s) Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Created by Hideo Kojima
Voiced by (English) Brian Cummings
Voiced by (Japanese) Naoki Tatsuta
Motion capture Takashi Kubo

Dr. Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov (Russian: Николай Степанович Соколов) was a Russian rocket scientist who defected to the United States during the height of the Cold War. Sokolov was the director of the OKB-754 Design Bureau prior to defecting, and was responsible for the development of the nuclear-armed Shagohod tank. He later developed the Intercontinental Ballistic Metal Gear, using designs from fellow scientist Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin.


Early life and careerEdit

Sokolov was born sometime during the mid 1900s to early 1910s.[1] In 1960, Sokolov participated in the Soviet Vostok program, designing the multi-engine cluster for the Vostok A-1 that sent Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin to space on April 12, 1961. He wanted to keep investigating for the Soviet space program, but, instead, he was named the Chief Designer of the Secret Weapons Research Office for the Soviet Union. Because of this, he also entered an intense rivalry with fellow weapons developer Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin, although he was largely oblivious to the latter's hostility to him. In 1961, he began designing the Shagohod and its intermediate range nuclear weapons capabilities. However, he began to get scared of his own creations, worrying about the weapon he was developing and its consequences on the world, and thus decided to defect from the Soviet Union with his family.

In 1962, Major Zero organized a CIA operation to help Sokolov and his family defect to the United States. Sokolov's wife and child were successfully evacuated first, with Sokolov himself following separately afterwards. However, the two-week period of travel and the 500 mile distance to get him to West Berlin exhausted him, resulting in him being checked into a local hospital to recover. Unfortunately for Sokolov, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred one week later. On October 28, America and the Soviet Union reached a compromise: the Soviet Union agreed to remove its missiles from Cuba, but in exchange the Americans had to surrender Sokolov over to the Russians.

Sokolov returned to OKB-754 and was forced to continue his work. Meanwhile, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's support steadily waned, and he became increasingly at odds with hawks in the Red Army and the provincial authorities. As a result, an extremist faction within the army intended to rally anti-government forces to overthrow Khrushchev, and then install Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin in his place. Fearing that Sokolov's new weapon would be seized by these forces, the rocket scientist was transferred to an abandoned factory in Rassvet, three miles to the south of OKB-754, under heavy KGB guard. The KGB was willing to do anything to keep the extremist faction from getting their hands on Sokolov, even if it meant killing him.

Operation Snake EaterEdit

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

In 1964, American intelligence discovered why the Soviets had needed Sokolov to return, so the CIA planned the Virtuous Mission in order to bring him back to the U.S. In August, FOX agent Naked Snake successfully infiltrated Tselinoyarsk and headed to Rassvet, where he found Sokolov burning documents relating to the Shagohod's development. Sokolov initially thought that Snake was one of Colonel Volgin's men from GRU, until Snake identified himself and his mission, as well as giving him a personal message from Major Zero. Although the two succeeded in escaping the area, Snake was soon confronted by his former mentor The Boss, who claimed that she was defecting to the Soviet Union. After incapacitating Snake, Sokolov was abducted by The Boss's Cobra Unit, to take as a "gift" for Volgin, with whom they had allied with. Volgin's forces also kidnapped a supposed KGB operative named Tatyana, who they believed to be Sokolov's lover.

Sokolov was forced to complete the Shagohod within Groznyj Grad, Volgin's personal fortress. A week later, at a warehouse in Ponizovje, he attempted to put up some resistance, but was forced to comply when Volgin threatened Tatyana with torture. Volgin's subordinate, Major Ocelot, also intimidated Sokolov in a game of Russian Roulette, though he would have killed the scientist had The Boss not intervened at the last moment.

Snake & Sokolov

Sokolov meets Naked Snake in Groznyj Grad.

The following day, Sokolov handed the Shagohod's battle data over to Tatyana in Groznyj Grad, believing that she would take it back to Khrushchev. She then threatened him with her supposed kiss of death, demanding information on the Philosophers' Legacy, though Sokolov knew nothing of its whereabouts. Once she had departed, Naked Snake arrived shortly thereafter to rescue Sokolov once more, having disguised himself as Groznyj Grad's subcommander, Major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov, to access his holding area in the West Wing. Although the Shagohod had already been completed, Sokolov informed Snake that he could destroy the tank by detonating the liquid fuel tanks connected to it, before the phase 2 testing could be undertaken. Just as Snake prepared to escort him to safety, Sokolov refused, believing that Khrushchev had abandoned him, and he would likely be sent to the gulags. He was also unwilling to flee to the United States, since he would then be made to work on America's weapons programs, and instead asked that Snake watch over his family. The two were soon interrupted by Volgin, who captured Snake and shot Sokolov in the kneecaps with his Makarov, having no further use for the scientist.

Later on, Volgin brutally tortured Sokolov in an attempt to learn who he had given the Shagohod data to. Tatyana pleaded desperately for him to stop, though Volgin continued to beat Sokolov, apparently to his death. However, Sokolov managed to survive with the help of a Fake Death Pill, given to him earlier by The Boss.[2] He successfully escaped Groznyj Grad, though he was recaptured by the KGB and subsequently interred in a Russian prison camp.

Post-Snake EaterEdit

Sometime after 1964, Sokolov was freed from imprisonment by FOX agent Gene, then brought to the United States, where he was reunited with his family. While in America, Sokolov's fears came true, and he was made the lead engineer of the first official Metal Gear project, based on the designs of Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin. Secretly, Sokolov planned to rebel against what he had created.

San Hieronymo IncidentEdit

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident

In 1970, Sokolov was brought to the San Hieronymo Peninsula by Gene in order to complete the Intercontinental Ballistic Metal Gear, preceded by the test model RAXA. Unbeknownst to Gene, Sokolov secretly planned to rebel against the FOX commander, despite the gratitude he felt for his rescue from Russia. Sokolov was also confused as to why Gene had chosen the peninsula as the base for his proposed military nation. Though the on-site nuclear weapons were unused, and the abandoned personnel could be easily swayed, he knew that Gene could have easily taken over a U.S missile silo, housing more recent nuclear weapons, and manned by personnel of higher morale, if he truly intended to attack the Soviet Union.[3]

When Naked Snake was captured and imprisoned on the peninsula by FOX, Sokolov saw this as his opportunity to rebel. After Snake escaped, and began gathering disillusioned personnel to resist Gene's ambitions, Sokolov contacted him under the name "Prividyenie" (Russian for Ghost). "Ghost" thanked Snake for "taking care of Volgin" six years earlier, and informed him that parts from Metal Gear were located on board a ship in the harbor. He also supplied information on Metal Gear's intended deployment via a modified Saturn V rocket, stolen by a Soviet spy in NASA, and requested that he get the original Saturn V blueprints for him.

Sokolov San Hieronymo

Sokolov reveals himself to Snake after the destruction of RAXA.

After Snake destroyed Metal Gear RAXA at an assembly plant, Sokolov emerged from the shadows and told him that RAXA was had only been a test model, used as a decoy. Gene then realized that Sokolov was the one who had been feeding Snake information, someone he did not expect to do so. He was then taken prisoner by Gene, shortly after instigating the massacre of both his own troops and one member of Snake's resistance.

A spy unit later uncovered evidence on Sokolov's whereabouts, although they couldn't reveal more to Snake's forces due to the risk of blowing their cover. After Snake managed to procure the Saturn V blueprints at the silo entrance, Sokolov explained that they were actually the designs for Metal Gear's booster rocket, the theft of which would put a significant delay on its launch. He also revealed that he couldn't have Snake steal them sooner because he didn't want anyone to know that he was still working in weapons development, never mind the fact that he had been involved in Metal Gear's development. He also couldn't do it himself because he "lacked the guts," explaining why he ended up creating the alias of Prividyenie. After learning his reasoning, Snake's partner Roy Campbell was indebted to him for supplying the information and allowed Sokolov to officially join their unit.[4] Later, as Snake attempted to disable the ICBMG, Sokolov assisted by radio, telling him where its armor was weakest.

Post-San HieronymoEdit

Despite Sokolov's intentions of giving up rocket science for the better of the world, his Shagohod research was later used by Huey Emmerich to create the Pupa AI weapon for the Peace Sentinel.



Sokolov during the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.

Sokolov was inherently a peaceful man, and did not like creating inventions that would be used to cause destruction. It was largely because of this that he wished to defect from the Soviet Union. Despite his resolute desire to leave for the other side of the Iron Curtain, he nonetheless grew slightly disturbed about America when he learned that Naked Snake's mentor, The Boss, taught him fluent Russian.[5] Sokolov showed fear to his enemies but also presented courage, when Tatyana was being shocked by Colonel Volgin, Sokolov threatened that he would not work on the project if she was hurt, but was proven wrong when Colonel Volgin threatened him. He had no shame for what he did but had guilt that his gifts were being used to bring destruction to mankind. He loved his family and showed affection towards people who were being hurt by others.

He disliked the policies of the Soviet Union, although he nonetheless had enough positive views of Russia to be horrified at the possibility of it being attacked, which was part of his motivation for aiding Naked Snake in stopping Gene.

Sokolov disliked Major Raikov of GRU, with Zero advising that Naked Snake refrain from using the Raikov Mask when contacting Sokolov during the Virtuous Mission.

Like Para-Medic and Sigint, Sokolov commented about rocket engineering and sci-fi movies pertaining to things related to nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction, radiation, or unethical science (like Dr. Strangelove), as well as a novel and EVA, when called on the radio during the San Hieronymo Takeover.

Notable technologies developedEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

Nikolai Stephanovich Sokolov is a major character in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, his rescue being the main mission objective in the Virtuous Mission, and one of the main objectives in Operation Snake Eater. Sokolov later returned in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.

Metal Gear Solid 3Edit

In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Sokolov's family photograph was originally intended to be shown during the Virtuous Mission briefing, as well as by Sokolov himself in the Virtuous Mission itself, but these instances were cut from the final version.[6] Sokolov and Snake were also to have spoken in actual Russian during their first meeting, but the creators, after Akio Ōtsuka asked if it was alright to record in Russian, decided to make it more similar to how Hollywood movies handle it.[6] Likewise, during their escape from Rassvet, a longer scene showing Sokolov attempting to mimic CQC was planned, although it is cut.[6]

The official Metal Gear Solid 3 website, as well as the BradyGames guide of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, incorrectly spells his middle name as "Stephanovich."

If the player decides to try to meet with Sokolov while wearing the Raikov mask, Sokolov will not let the player in and shout that he won't let them deliver him to Volgin or supply the Shagohod data, hinting that the reason why he hated Raikov was because of his affiliation to Volgin, and possibly that he believed Raikov was supposed to retrieve him.

In the Subsistence version of what would become Metal Gear Online, Sokolov could be unlocked as the playable "leader" of a KGB unit if the player within a KGB unit got the lowest score, a reference to the main game where the KGB had to guard Sokolov from GRU. He came equipped with stealth camouflage, he used the standard CQC takedown, and his salute was his attempted mimicry at Naked Snake's CQC stance during the Virtuous Mission.

Portable Ops recruitmentEdit

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Plus)
Sokolov MPO
Equipment Shield
Career Elite Engineer
Initial life 40
Maximum life 100
Initial stamina 100
Maximum stamina 200
Sense 10
Handgun C
Sub-machine-gun B
Assault rifle B
Shotgun C
Sniper rifle A
Heavy weapons B
Knife (CQC) B
Throwing weapons B
Traps S
Technical skill S
Medical skill B
Password (PAL) VOSTOK

If given the option, the player can recruit Sokolov in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. This section details how to recruit him.

After rescuing Naked Snake from the Guest House, and assuming that a Spy Unit is already dispatched to the Harbor, a Spy Report will be received, explaining that there are leftover parts from the weapon. Snake then infiltrates the docked supply tanker and goes back to the crate that originally contained the ICBMG. Afterwards, Snake receives a call from Ghost. Ghost explains (albeit with difficulty) that he has technical new information: Snake already knew that the ICBMG is to be launched in a manner similar to an ICBM. However, in order to launch the ICBMG, its massive size requires a rocket booster that is more powerful than an ICBM or even a Soyuz Rocket. Ghost clarifies that it is to be launched by a modified Saturn V, the same rocket that was used to house the Apollo Lunar Module for the Apollo Mission. This is because the Saturn V was the largest multi-stage rocket built by man, and while the rocket itself was made in America, the base was designed specifically for the Saturn V due to blueprints that were stolen from NASA by a Soviet Spy. He mentions that the blueprints for the Saturn V should still be on the peninsula, and asks Snake if he could recover the documents and deliver them to him. Snake isn't sure, as he thinks getting the documents won't stop Metal Gear, so he asks Ghost why he needs them. Ghost mentions they'd be useful for "something." Snake then guesses that "Ghost" might have an interest in Rocket Design, and he mentions that it would be understandable if this were Sokolov. Ghost then explains that it's not out of personal interest, but rather that if they were to find out how to stop Metal Gear, the sooner, the better. Snake then agrees, although he mentions that he cannot make any promises and will only search them out if time allows him. Ghost then thanks Snake.

Shortly after Cunningham is defeated, Snake (or one of the soldiers) then returns to the Silo Entrance and interrogates a Soviet officer with a RPG-7, to which he explains that a friend of his at the Power Substation knows the frequency. The Resistance then returns to the Power Substation and encounters the Soviet officer's friend: A Soviet soldier. The resistance then interrogates the soldier, to whom he reveals the frequency: 145.62. The resistance then returns to the Silo Entrance, and used the frequency in the second building from the direct entrance to the Silo Complex, and discovered the Blueprints to the Saturn V rocket. Afterwards, a Spy Unit planted in the Plant sends a report about someone being locked up in the computer room. However, they cannot reveal any more details without blowing their cover. The resistance then storms the Plant and arrives at the Computer Room of the Plant, discovering that the person locked in it is none other than Sokolov. Roy Campbell then asks if he is Sokolov, and after Sokolov confirms it, Roy Campbell then gives Sokolov the Saturn V documents. Sokolov then realizes that they did get the documents for him. Roy Campbell then asks him why he needed the Saturn V documents, anyways, as Sokolov was involved in developing the ICBMG, and thus had multiple chances to look at the blueprints for the Saturn V. Sokolov then explains that that's because the documents actually weren't of Saturn V. They only looked like the Saturn V documents: The documents were actually the schematics for the booster rocket for the ICBMG. He also explains that, while the documents weren't absolutely essential, they were needed to speed the process along. Roy Campbell then realizes what Sokolov meant: If Snake hadn't procured the documents beforehand, the ICBMG would have been launched much sooner than it would have. Roy Campbell then asks Sokolov why he didn't tell him sooner. Sokolov explains that this is because, had the resistance looked at his documents closely, they would have seen his name among the designers, which causes Campbell to realize that this would mean that Snake would find out that Sokolov helped develop Metal Gear. Sokolov explains that he didn't want anyone to know that he was still "dirtying his hands" in weapons development, period, never mind the fact that he was involved in developing a weapon based on the blueprints that Granin left behind, and he didn't have the guts to steal the schematics himself, despite his wanting to, hence why he assumed the identity of Ghost and used Snake to get the documents. Roy Campbell then realizes what he tried to do: In his own way, Sokolov was trying to prevent Metal Gear from being launched. Sokolov is surprised at Roy Campbell's remark, to which Campbell explains that they owe Sokolov, and they are glad to have him on board.

"Developer of the Shagohod and director of the Sokolov Design Bureau (OKB-754). After inventing a system that places multiple engines on a single rocket (multi-engine cluster) won him widespread acclaim, he was put in charge of his own secret design lab."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

According to his stats, Sokolov's SNS skill is 10, which ranks among the lowest Spy scores. However, he was able to successfully feed information to Naked Snake and his resistance, prior to his recruitment by the group, surprising even Gene when his actions were later discovered.

Unlike Para-Medic and Sigint, the only way to retain Sokolov's frequency is to not recruit him (as he abandons using the alias by the time of recruition).

In the strategy guide, only the Spy Report mission regarding extra parts for Metal Gear (where Sokolov, under the identity of Ghost, requests that Snake retrieve blueprints of the Saturn V) is covered.

Other appearancesEdit

Sokolov was mentioned in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, relating to the Shagohod.

He also appears as an officer character for the Mother Base Developer in the Ground Zeroes app. He is unlocked by obtaining 15+ rodent kills while connected to the app.



Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Metal Gear Solid 3 voice casting sheet [1][2]
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4 Database ("Sokolov"), Kojima Productions (2008).
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    Sokolov, under the alias of Ghost, explains this during an optional radio conversation.
  4. ^ The recruiting of Sokolov itself is completely optional. However, Sokolov's appearance in the ending relaying how to disable the ICBMG to Snake despite being busted by Gene implies that it is canon.
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Kojima Productions (2004)
    Dr. Nikolai Sokolov: By the way, your Russian is superb. Where did you learn to speak it? // Naked Snake: From my mentor [The Boss]. // Sokolov: Is that so? America is truly a frightening country. // Snake: Having second thoughts? // Sokolov: No. I have no love for this place. Let's go.
  6. ^ a b c

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