The Monster Cockroach

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The Monster Cockroach 
The Monster Cockroach on a Russian postage stamp, 1993

The Monster Cockroach also known either as Giant Cockroach or Cock-The-Roach (lit. 'Тараканище') also popularly known by its Russian name Tarakanishche is a popular Russian children's fairy tale poem written by poet Korney Chukovsky in 1921.[1] The poem was later published by Raduga Publishers in 1923[2][3] and is regarded as a cultural poetic heritage among Russophones. It is based on an overgrown cockroach who assumed power over mankind and animals by bullying and threatening them, only to fall prey to a sparrow in the end.[4]

There are still confusions and speculations among critics whether Chukovsky had former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin in his mind before compiling the poem.

Poem (incomplete)[edit]

Bears went to the hike

A-riding on a bike

And behind them the Tom cat

Back to front

And behind him are mosquitoes

On a balloon

And behind them crayfish

On a lame dog

Wolves on a mare

Lions in the car

Here comes the Cockroach

"Bring me, animals, your kids, I'll eat them today at dinner"


The poem became popular during the 2020 Belarusian protests where protesters referred to incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko as a cockroach chanting Stop the Cockroach. Protests in Belarus broke out before and after disputed 2020 Belarusian presidential election and the moment calling for Slipper Revolution, also known as Anti-cockroach protests was initiated by businessman and blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky referring to the poem. He compared Lukashenko to the cockroach by referring to the poem. The demonstrators and protesters also called for killing the cockroach with a slipper indicating Lukashenko as the Cockroach in a metaphorical reference to the poem.[5]

In the original poem, the cockroach is eventually eaten by a sparrow, while Tikhanovsky refers to a slipper signifying stamping on the cockroach.[6]


  1. ^ "Корней Чуковский: Сказки - читать на сайте о семье Чуковских". Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  2. ^ "Watching the Mighty Cockroach Fall". Asia Society. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  3. ^ Beckett, Sandra L. (11 October 2013). Transcending Boundaries: Writing for a Dual Audience of Children and Adults. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-68586-7.
  4. ^ Retrieved 2020-08-22. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Burdeau, Cain (2020-08-11). "In Belarus, Protests Continue Against Europe's Last Dictator as His Challenger Flees the Country". Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  6. ^ Wesolowsky, Tony (27 May 2020). "Although Banned From Running, Vlogger's Calls To Cast Out 'Cockroach' Lukashenka Resonating With Many Belarusians". Retrieved 2020-08-18.