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A stereotypical gopnik in a khrushchyovka

Gopnik (Russian: го́пник, IPA: [ˈɡopnʲɪk])[1] is a pejorative stereotype describing a particular subculture in Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics to refer to young men or women of sometimes lower-class suburban areas (usually under 25 years of age)[2] coming from families of poor education and (sometimes) income. The female form is gopnitsa (Russian: го́пница), and the collective noun is gopota (Russian: гопота́). The subculture of Gopniks has its roots in the late Russian Empire, and evolved during the 20th century in many cities in the Soviet Union.[3][4]


Gopnik is most likely derived from the Russian slang term for a street robbery: gop-stop (Russian: Гоп-стоп).[5]

However, it could also be related to GOP, the acronym for the Gorodskoye Obshchestvo Prezreniya. These were almshouses for the destitute created by the Bolshevik government after the October Revolution in 1917. According to Dahl's Explanatory Dictionary, a Russian explanatory dictionary (first published in the 19th century), an old slang word for "sleeping on street" was "гопать" (literally, "to gop") something that was related to the "mazuricks", or the criminals of Saint Petersburg.[5]

Stereotypical appearance and behaviour[edit]

Gopniks are often seen squatting in groups "in court" (на корта́х), "at the pictures" (на карташах), or "doing the crab" (на крабе) outside blocks of flats or schools.[6][7] It is described as a learned behavior attributed to Russian prison culture to avoid sitting on the cold ground.[7]

Gopniks are often seen wearing Adidas tracksuits, which were popularised by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team.[8] Sunflower seeds (colloquially semyon (семён), semki (семки) or semechki (семечки)) are habitually eaten by gopniks, especially in Ukraine and Russia. Gopniks can also be seen wearing flat caps and Adidas backpacks.

Gopniks are often associated with cheap alcohol, such as low quality vodka and light beer, and cheap cigarettes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian plural гопники (gopniki), also гопота (gopota), and гопари (gopari).
  2. ^ Beiträge der Europäischen Slavistischen Linguistik (POLYSLAV)., Volume 8, 2005, ISBN 3-87690-924-4, p. 237
  3. ^ "Slav Squat – Russian Disturbing Street Trend". 
  4. ^ "Russia's original gangstas: meet the gopniki". 22 July 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Британский исследовательский центр предлагает отказаться от слова "гопник"". Англия, Великобритания: энциклопедия, новости, фото. Всё об Англии и про Англию. Аделанта. July 17, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Flynn, Moya; Kay, Rebecca; Oldfield, Jonathan D. (1 June 2008). Trans-national issues, local concerns and meanings of post-socialism: insights from Russia, Central Eastern Europe, and beyond. University Press of America – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ a b Ханипов Р. «Гопники» – значение понятия, и элементы репрезентации субкультуры «гопников» в России // "Social Identities in Transforming Societies"
  8. ^ "Why is Adidas so Popular Among Russians?". 4 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Gopnik at Wikimedia Commons