This text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Chastúshka or chastooshka (Russian: часту́шка), a type of traditional Russian folk poem, is a single quatrain in trochaic tetrameter with anabab, abcb or (less frequently) aabb rhyme scheme. (As an English-language example, the famous quatrain that begins "Lizzie Borden took an axe..." is also in trochaic tetrameter, and therefore could be considered analogous to a "chastushka.") Usually humorous, satirical, or ironic in nature, chastushkas are often put to music as well, usually with balalaika or accordion accompaniment. The rigid, short structure (and, to a lesser degree, the type of humor used) parallels the poetic genre of limericks in British culture. The name originates from the Russian word части́ть (chastít' ), meaning "to speak fast".

Chastuskas cover a very wide spectrum of topics, from lewd jokes to political satire, including such diverse themes as love songs and Communist propaganda. During Soviet times, the government even published large collections of "ideologically correct" chastushkas.

Sometimes several chastushkas occur in sequence to form a song. In fact, in Russian, this type of song is referred to as just the pluralчасту́шки, i.e. chastúshkas. After each chastuska, there is a full musical refrain without lyrics to give the listeners a chance to laugh without missing the next one. Originally chastushkas were a form of folk entertainment, not intended to be performed on stage. Often they are sung in turns by a group of people. Sometimes they are used as a medium for a back-and-forth mocking contest. Improvisation is highly valued during chastuska singing.

The last foot of a chastushka line is often a single stressed syllable rather than a full trochee, but no other structural variations are generally allowed. Due in part to this rigid structure, the tune used to sing them is standardized, but varies among different regions of Russia. A popular example is the tune of Яросла́вские ребя́та (Yaroslavskie Rebyata, The Yaroslavl Guys), the signature tune of the folkloric vocal band by that name. In fact, the Yaroslavl region has been famous for its chastushkas since long ago.


The vast number of folk chastushkas are lewd or laden with vulgarities. Here are some relatively printable examples. Included are loose English translations that preserve the chastushka rhyme and meter and the main meaning (though not the details).

  • Kolkhoz life
Птицеферма у нас есть,
И другая строится.
А колхозник яйца видит,
Когда в бане моется.
We have a chicken farm,
With another one being built,
But the farm-worker sees his "eggs" (slang for testicles)
Only while bathing himself!
  • Bolshevik political and anti-religious propaganda
Знаем Ленина заветы.
Кулаки, попы - наш враг
Призовет их всех к ответу
Большевицкий красный флаг.
Knowing Lenin's advice
Kulaks, priests - our enemies
They will all be called to account
By the bolshevik's red flag.
  • A parody of the Soviet peace propaganda
С неба звездочка упала
Прямо милому в штаны,
Пусть бы всё там разорвала,
Лишь бы не было войны.
From the heavens, a star had fallen
Right into my darling's pants.
Better it be all destroyed down there,
Than there be another war.
  • Appeared when daylight saving time was introduced in the Soviet Union
Время сдвинули на час
На Советском глобусе
Раньше хрен вставал в постели
А теперь в автобусе
Time got shifted by an hour
From Khabarovsk to Donbass. (in the original: "On the Soviet globe")
Before, my Morning wood was in bed,
Now I have it on the bus.


  1. Russian language
  2. Russian alphabet
  3. Russian orthography
  4. Russian phonology
  5. Russian grammar
  6. IPA for Russian
  7. Russian-Cyrillic alphabet
  8. Informal romanizations of Russian
  9. Languages of Russia
  10. List of countries where Russian is an official language
  11. List of English words of Russian origin
  12. List of languages of Russia
  13. Spelling rule
  14. Romanization of Russian
  15. Russian language-History of the Russian language
  16. List of Russian language television channels
  17. Reduplication in the Russian language
  18. Reforms of Russian orthography
  19. Rules of Russian Orthography and Punctuation
  20. Russian language-Runglish
  21. Russian exonyms
  22. Russian Morse code
  23. Russian sayings
  24. Russianism
  25. Russophone
  26. Slavic languages
  27. Test of Russian as a Foreign Language
  28. The differences of Moscovian and St.-Petersburg's speech
  29. Vowel reduction in Russian
  30. Russian proverbs
  31. Russian proverbs:USSR
  32. ALA-LC romanization for Russian
  33. Great Russian language
  34. Olympiada of Spoken Russian
  35. Russian cursive
  36. Russian jokes
  37. Russian National Corpus


LONWEB.ORG is a property of Casiraghi Jones Publishing srl
Owners: Roberto Casiraghi e Crystal Jones
Address: Piazzale Cadorna 10 - 20123 Milano - Italy
Tel. +39-02-78622122 email:
P.IVA e C. FISCALE 11603360154 • REA MILANO 1478561
Other company websites: