Russian Language Blog

Who is Cheburashka and How Can He Help You? Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Culture, language, Russian for beginners

Being that most of you are devoting your precious time and energy toward learning to speak Russian, I decided to introduce you to a new tool that may help you, as well as entertain you at the same time. This tool is called Cheburashka. What is Cheburashka you ask? Cheburashka is a fictional character created for children during the mid 1960’s by Russian writer, Eduard Uspensky. This cute little character made his debut on film a few years later. I recently discovered episodes of this show with english subtitles. Even though we may not all enjoy cartoons and shows for children, this one may entertain you with its creative prowess, and you may learn a bit more Russian at the same time.

Cheburashka is a little brown “thing” with large ears and cute eyes. It is not clear to me whether Cheburashka is a boy or a girl, but I have read that it is a “he.” Cheburashka was made into a television show in 1969 by Soyuzmultfilm, a Russian animated film studio. The episodes centered around Cheburashka and his friends. The animation is quite good considering the time it was created; it seems similar to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” program which airs in America each Christmas. Unfortunately, only a few episodes were created, even though Cheburashka is quite popular.

Cheburashka toys can be found all over Russia, in homes and stores. I actually purchased a stuffed animal that speaks different phrases from the television show in Moscow a few years ago. At the 2004 summer olympic games in Athens, Cheburashka was the symbol of Russia’s team, and again a few years later at the winter games in Beijing. Not too bad for a character created over 40 years ago.

Upon finding episodes of Cheburashka with english subtitles on dvd, I played them for my son. He immediately loved them and began to imitate the characters. The dialogue is simple enough for children to understand and challenging enough for some of those learning to speak Russian. In addition to various apps, blogs, books, and cd’s, Cheburashka could also be counted as yet another tool to assist you in your quest for Russian proficiency.

You can easily find episodes of Cheburashka on youtube, with and without subtitles. Be careful though, with almost all of the subtitles I have seen over the years, errors can be found. Here is a link to one of the episodes:

While learning a new language is very difficult, it can also be fun. Fortunately with the internet, we have access to things that only a few years ago, were nearly impossible to find. It is my hope that some of you will watch the short episodes, even if you are more advanced, because they provide a glimpse into what shows Soviet-era children watched. 


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About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u


  1. Moonyeen Albrecht:

    In one of my Russian classes at Michigan State University we read an article about the contest in Nizhny-Novgorod for children to suibmit their pictures in a contest regarding the future “statue” to honor Cheburashka. I had a great deal of fun coming up with my pictures. I found a good picture of Cheburashka on the internet and made several copies. Then I printed copies of the following statues: Rodin’s “Thinker,” a statue of Lenin with his outstretched arm and Michaelangelo’s “David.” Then I cut out the Chebrashka heads and superimposed them on these statues. I think they are wonderful. Often when I travel I carry copies of these photos and show them to Russian friends I meet on trips. They love them. Жаль, что I did not win the contest!

    • Jenya:

      @Moonyeen Albrecht Moonyeen, thank you very much for sharing this story! If you email me the image(s), I’ll be happy to add them to the post 🙂 .

  2. roof:

    This is also a good program to learn the Russian birthday song

  3. Gavin:

    I had never heard of Cheburashka until I came to Russia. He is certainly a star though! Students from my first class gifted me one on completing their course, just as you describe speaking the phrases! Recently I had to find a white one, which was harder than I expected –