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For the surname, see Gopnik (surname).
Young Gopniks at bus stop

Gopnik (Russian: го́пник) (plural gopniki, gopota, gopari) is a sub-culture native to Russia and post-Soviet countries (and in rather limited numbers, in Israel), characterized by squatting, aggressive behavior, a predilection to the Blat criminal subculture, and abuse of alcohol (specifically beer, vodka and "Jaguar" cocktail). Fashion preferences include Adidas tracksuits and dress shoes. In the winter, a leather jacket and flatcap hat (known as "Gondonka") are added to a typical Gopnik's attire. Gopniks have been compared to the Chavs, Spides and Neds of the United Kingdom.


The term "gopnik" was probably derived from slang term gop-stop, meaning street mugging. Another theory is that "gopnik" derived from the acronym GOP, probably a reference to Gorodskoye Obshchestvo Prizreniya (the municipal agency for care of destitutes), the numerous almshouses organized by the government after the October Revolution. Another version translates the acronym as Gorodskoye Obshchezhitiye Proletariata (The Municipal Dormitory of the Proletariat), putatively organized in the 1920s in Leningrad in the hotel Oktyabrskaya, which quickly became known for the criminal activities of its inhabitants. The major argument against the second theory is that there are no surviving records proving the existence of such an institution in Leningrad.

One of the distinctive characteristics of the gopniks is that they will often be seen squatting (sitting on haunches), a habit that originates from prison life.[1]


There is a prison song that was popularized by Leonid Utyosov and called "Gop so smykom". The name is interpreted from the Russian prison slang as a burglar with tools.[2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Фима Жиганец. Жемчужины босяцкой речи. Ростов-на-Дону, "Феникс", 1999. ISBN 5-222-00958-0
  • Потапов С.М. Словарь жаргона преступников. Блатная музыка. Народный комиссариат внутренних дел, 1990.
  • Владимир Козлов. Гопники. Ад Маргинем, 2003. ISBN 5-93321-041-2


  1. ^ Ханипов Р. «Гопники» — значение понятия, и элементы репрезентации субкультуры «гопников» в России // «Social Identities in Transforming Societies»
  2. ^ Nekliudov, S. "Gop so smykom" is all well known. Ruthenia. 2006

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