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A Russian gopnik squats in a stairwell in a khrushchyovka building.

A gopnik (Russian: гопник, romanizedgopnik, pronounced [ˈɡopnʲɪk]; Ukrainian: гопник, romanizedhopnyk; Belarusian: гопнік, romanizedhopnik)[1] is a member of a delinquent subculture in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and in other former Soviet republics – a young man (or a woman, a gopnitsa) of working-class background who usually lives in Russian suburban areas[2] and comes from a family of poor education and income.[3] The collective noun is gopota (Russian: гопота). The subculture of gopota has its roots in the late Russian Empire and evolved during the 20th century in many cities in the Soviet Union.[4][5] As of the late 2010s, the subculture has faded for the most part, although youth gangs (such as the A.U.E.) that resemble gopota still exist in Russia and in other Slavic and Baltic countries.


Gopnik is most likely derived from the Russian slang term for a street robbery: gop-stop (Russian: гоп-стоп).[6]

However, it could also be related to GOP, the acronym for the Gorodskoye Obshezhitie Proletariata. 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" (gopat', literally "to gop") something that was related to the "mazuricks" or the criminals of Saint Petersburg.[6]

One of the first appearances of “gopnik” in written text is in Zoopark's (pioneering Soviet rock band) 1984 song “Gopniki.”[7]

A gopnik "slav squatting".

Stereotypical appearance and behaviour[edit]

Gopniks are often seen wearing Adidas or Puma tracksuits (mostly Adidas), which were popularized by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team.[8][9] Sunflower seeds (colloquially semki (семки) or semechki (семечки)) are habitually eaten by gopniks, especially in Ukraine and Russia.[9]

The subculture is stereotypically associated with Russian chanson music, specifically the blatnaya pesnya subgenre (prisoner's songs, lyrics etc...); also, since the mid-2010s, in internet memes and viral videos, with hardbass[10] and Russian rock.[11]

Some gopniks have Russian nationalism or Pan-Slavism as their primary political views,[12] though there are also leftist or even far-right gopnik communities. Some gopniks hold strong anti-Western views.[3]

Gopota are often seen squatting in groups "in court" (на кортах, na kortakh) or "doing the crab" (на крабе, na krabe) outside blocks of flats or schools with their heels on the ground.[13][14] It is described as a learned behavior attributed to Russian and Soviet prison culture to avoid sitting on the cold ground. Gopota are stereotyped as being prone to substance and alcohol abuse, crime and hooliganism.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian plural гопники (gopniki), also гопота (gopota), and гопари (gopari). Archived 2020-03-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Beiträge der Europäischen Slavistischen Linguistik (POLYSLAV)., Archived 2020-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Volume 8, 2005, ISBN 3-87690-924-4, p. 237 Archived 2016-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Michele A. Berdy (2014-04-10). "Thugs, Rednecks, Nationalists: Understanding Russia's Gopnik Culture". Moscow Times.
    Anastasiya Fedorova (2014-07-30). "An Ode to Russia's Ugly, Mean Suburbs". Moscow Times.
  4. ^ "Slav Squat – Russian Disturbing Street Trend". Archived from the original on 2018-08-28. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  5. ^ "Russia's original gangstas: meet the gopniki". 22 July 2011. Archived from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  6. ^ 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. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2013.[irrelevant citation]
  7. ^ "Opinion: Can Slav and gopnik memes do real damage?". The Calvert Journal. 13 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Why is Adidas so Popular Among Russians?". 4 January 2015. Archived from the original on 6 May 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^ Yegorov, Oleg (2017-12-22). "Russian hard bass: How a musical monstrosity went viral". Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  12. ^ Anastasiia Fedorova (2014-05-28). "Russia's suburbs lack charm ... which may be why they're creative hotspots". Guardian. Archived from the original on 2020-01-15. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  13. ^ 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 978-0761840558. Archived from the original on 12 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ a b Ханипов Р. «Гопники» – значение понятия, и элементы репрезентации субкультуры «гопников» в России // "Social Identities in Transforming Societies"