‘Sincere greetings from Russian Far East’: Cold War message in a bottle washes up in Alaska

Chiara Giordano

A Cold War sailor’s 50-year-old message in a bottle has finally been read after washing ashore in Alaska.

Tyler Ivanoff discovered the handwritten Russian letter while collecting firewood near Shishmaref, about 600 miles northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.

Mr Ivanoff said the green glass bottle still smelled of old alcohol when he opened it, and that he had to use a screwdriver to prise the letter out.

He later shared his discovery on Facebook, where Russian speakers revealed it was from a Cold War Russian sailor dated 20 June, 1969.

According to The Nome Nugget newspaper, it read: “Sincere greetings! From the Russian Far East Fleet mother ship VRXF Sulak.

“I greet you who finds the bottle and request that you respond to the address Vladivostok -43 BRXF Sulak to the whole crew.

“We wish you good health and long years of life and happy sailing.”

The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.

Reporters from state-owned Russian media network Russia-1 tracked down the original writer, Captain Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.

He was sceptical about whether he wrote the note until he saw his signature at the bottom.

“There – exactly!” he said.

The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Mr Botsanenko said.


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The former sailor shed tears when he was told the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.

Mr Botsanenko also showed Russia-1 some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles.

AP contributed to this report