Striped hamsters (Cricetulus barabensis species group) consist of four karyologically and morphologically distinct forms. Three of them are included today in a polymorphic complex Cricetulus barabensis sensu lato, which is widely distributed in steppe and semidesert zones of Siberia, Mongolia, the Far East, and China. At the same time, the last form - Cricetulus sokolovi - is a rare endemic species of the Gobi Desert and remains poorly studied. Molecular phylogenetic results have shown that the mean genetic distance between the cytb haplotypes of C. sokolovi and C. barabensis s. l. (8.1%) falls within a range observed for the congeneric sister species in Rodentia, while the distances between chromosomal forms in C. barabensis s. l. correspond well to an interspecific level (2-4%). Available molecular and craniometric data support the sister-group relationship of C. sokolovi with C. barabensis s. l. relative to C. longicaudatus. By contrast, cytogenetic (FISH) data highlight the outlying position of C. sokolovi within Cricetulus. The karyotype of C. sokolovi is highly rearranged, and the most parsimonious scenario of its origin implies at least four Robertsonian events (WARTs and fusions) and a centromere shift as a cause of the difference between the ancestral karyotype of C. barabensis s.l. and C. sokolovi. Considering a low level of the karyological differences between forms within C. barabensis s.l. these results demonstrate asynchronous rates of chromosomal evolution in different lineages of Cricetulus. The reported study was funded by RFBR according to the research project No. 16-34-60086 mol_а_dk.