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Sokolov's wife and daughter were the immediate family of Russian rocket scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov. In 1962, they, alongside Sokolov himself, defected to the West in order to escape the USSR. Although their escape was successful and they were placed into protective custody by the CIA. Sokolov was forced to return to the USSR due to John F. Kennedy's deal with Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis.