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A stereotypical gopnik in a khrushchyovka

Gopnik (Russian: го́пник, IPA: [ˈɡopnʲɪk], Belarusian: гопнік)[1] is a stereotype and subculture in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other former Soviet republics to refer to young men 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] As of the late 2010s, the subculture has faded for the most part, although youth gangs that resemble gopniks still exist in Russia and many Slavic countries (such as the A.U.E.).


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 Prizreniya. 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) or "doing the crab" (на крабе) outside blocks of flats or schools with their heels on the ground.[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 or Puma tracksuits, which were popularised by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team.[8] Sunflower seeds (colloquially 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, cheap cigarettes and sometimes even guns. They also utilize common Russian expletives such as "Pizda, Blyat, Suka" (Russian: Пизда, блять, сука), and behave rudely, such as flipping people off.

The gopnik stereotype is associated with Russian chanson music, specifically the blatnaya pesnya subgenre; also, since the mid-2010s, in internet memes and viral videos, with hardbass.[citation needed]

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 2011.
  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. ISBN 0761840559 – 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