Searching for Sasha: How to find a childhood pen pal

A letter from Jessica Partnow’s pen pal, Sasha Krizhanovsky, in 1990 from Ukraine.

When the Seattle Globalist reporting team – Sarah Stuteville and Jessica Partnow – took off for a 2-month reporting trip in the Former Soviet Union, they had a secret goal: to find Sasha, Jessica’s childhood pen pal from 1990. Sarah chronicles the journey in photos (after the jump), which all started with an aged letter, a name and one address.

Sasha said “Life is full of the most unexpected things. It’s wonderful” and kissed Jessica’s hand goodbye.

Generation Putin: stories exploring politics and everyday life for Millennials in the former Soviet Union, is produced by the Common Language Project and comes from the Public Radio Exchange, with financial support from the Open Society Foundation.

Sarah Stuteville

Sarah Stuteville is a print and multimedia journalist. She’s a cofounder of The Seattle Globalist. Stuteville won the 2011 Sigma Delta Chi Award for magazine writing. She writes a weekly column on our region’s international connections that is shared by the Seattle Globalist and The Seattle Times and funded with a grant from Seattle International Foundation. Reach Sarah at
Sarah Stuteville


  1. Wow! What a great story! Sasha looks like a really nice guy (and I want his house by the river) Nice work guys.

  2. Such a nice photo essay – loved seeing the story come full circle, all the way from your first tweet with the picture of the letter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.