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Gopnik (Russian: го́пник)[1] is a pejorative term and a social slur used in Russia, post-Soviet countries, and Israel to refer to young lower-class suburban male dwellers (usually under 30 years of age) coming from families of poor education and income, somewhat similar to British chavs or neds sub-cultures. The gopnik stereotype includes predominant use of underworld mat slang, flagrant disrespect for the laws (such as mugging and beating passers-by up; public consumption of alcoholic beverages, most usually — the least obvious "Jaguar" cocktail) and love for snacking on roasted sunflower seeds while remaining squatted. Fashion preferences include Adidas tracksuits and dress shoes, often cheap and obvious counterfeits. In the winter, a leather jacket and flatcap hat (known as "Gondonka") are added to a typical Gopnik's attire. The female counterpart of the gopnik is known as "сиповка" (sipovka) or "босячка" (bosyachka) — all translating as "tomboy" from Mat.


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 learned behavior attributed to prison habits or disadvantaged origins. [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. ^ Russian plural гопники (gopniki), also гопота (gopota), and гопари (gopari).
  2. ^ Ханипов Р. «Гопники» — значение понятия, и элементы репрезентации субкультуры «гопников» в России // «Social Identities in Transforming Societies»