Vatnik (slang)

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Activists in Ukraine using the image of "Vatnik" in the action of "Boycott Russian Films" campaign

Vatnik or vatnyk (Russian: ватник) is a political slur,[1][2] used in Russia and other post-Soviet states based on an internet meme that was introduced in 2011 by Anton Chadskiy, which denotes a steadfast jingoistic follower of propaganda from the Russian government.[3]

The use of the word originates in the internet meme, first spread by Chadskiy on VKontakte, and used in Russia, Ukraine, then in other post-Soviet states. Its meaning refers to the original cartoon, which depicts a character made from the material of a padded cotton wool jacket and bearing a black eye which is used to disparage someone as a blindly patriotic and unintelligent jingoist who pushes the conventional views presented in Russian government media as well as those of Russian web brigades.[4][5] "Put simply, the vatnik is representative of a certain archetypical Russian who … supports the regime out of fear, hatred of others, or most often a combination of both."[6] The name "Vatnik" derives from the cotton wool jacket (Telogreika) that Chadskiy's cartoon character in the meme is made from.

Internet meme[edit]

The meme was created by the Russian artist Anton Chadskiy under the pseudonym Jedem das Seine.[7][8][9] His associated picture of an anthropomorphic square-shaped quilted jacket similar to the title character of SpongeBob SquarePants was posted on VK for the first time on September 9, 2011. In 2012, the meme became widely popular on the Internet.[10] Chadskiy created the group for the character on VK called RASHKA - THE SQUARE VATNIK. Rashka is a derogatory nickname for Russia, derived from the English pronunciation of the country's name with the Russian -k diminutive suffix attached.[11][12][13]

Chadskiy's original drawing has been reproduced and modified many times. Features that are consistently included are gray color, a red nose (from drinking vodka), and a black eye (presumably from a fistfight with another vatnik).[6] The meme became much more widespread in society after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine started in 2014.[10]

In early 2015, Anton Chadskiy reported that he was forced to leave Russia in November 2014 because he feared political persecution by the government.[14] He was living in Kiev and planning to move to Berlin at the time.[13]

Examples of use[edit]

  • Autumn 2014 – "Podrobnosti" ("Inter" TV channel) in association with Irena Karpa started production of animated series, several episodes were devoted to the "vatnik" phenomenon.[15][16][17][18][19]
  • Orest Liutyi wrote a song about "vatniks", as a remake of the Russian famous song "Landyshy" (Russian: Ландыши). In this song, he named Vladimir Putin as a khuylo.[20]
  • "We will not let the Russian vata into our homes"[21] – the name of the Ukrainian "Boycott Russian Films" campaign;[22]
  • "Inter is a "vata" channel of Firtash the "kremlyad"[23]"[24] – a critical comment in social networks;[25]
  • "The proud name "vatnik"[26] – one of the topics at essays and scientific works competition in the Altai State Pedagogical University, that was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union victory in the German-Soviet War (Second World War).[27]
  • During New Year 2015 celebration the author of the meme Anton Chadskiy held a humorous action – "Vatnik of the year" award. This action angered Russian Internet.[28]
  • During the end of 2014 the comedy television show "VATA TV" (original: ВАТА TV) is shown in Ukraine. It is devoted to the "vata" phenomenon. It is hosted by the popular 5 Kanal host Viktor Lytovchenko. He mainly speaks Surzhyk during programs.[29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fialkova, Larisa; Yelenevskaia, Maria (2016-04-14). "The Crisis in Ukraine and the Split of Identity in the Russian-speaking World". Folklorica. 19. doi:10.17161/folklorica.v19i1.5721. ISSN 1920-0242.
  2. ^ Devlin, Anne Marie (2016-11-25). "Lard-eaters, gay-ropeans, sheeple and prepositions: lexical and syntactic devices employed to position the other in Russian online political forums". Russian Journal of Communication. 9 (1): 53–70. doi:10.1080/19409419.2016.1219642. ISSN 1940-9419. S2CID 151382929.
  3. ^ Vatnost – Why the West can’t Understand Russia By Jim Kovpak June 09, 18:22
  4. ^ Shaun Walker (2 June 2016). "Ukraine bans Russian journalists accused of 'stirring hatred'". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  5. ^ Kolya Camouflage. ""Tesak's daughter" moved to Ukraine to organize "safari" hunting on gay people". Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b Kovpak, Jim (June 9, 2015). "Vatnost – Why the West can't Understand Russia". Read Russia. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  7. ^ Яких росіян називають словом «ватник» (in Ukrainian). 10.04.2014
  8. ^ Антон Чадский (in Russian). Vatnik
  9. ^ Антон Чадский. Vkontakte
  10. ^ a b 10 слів і фраз, що увійшли до вжитку вінничан 2014-го року (in Ukrainian). 10.01.2015
  12. ^ Создатель «Ватника» Антон Чадский: Как я стал русофобом (in Russian). Snob. 14.10.2014
  13. ^ a b АНТОН ЧАДСКИЙ BARHOT ИНТЕРВЬЮ, video; (in Russian). Road Control. 18.01.2015
  14. ^ У Києві порівнювали «ватників» і «бандериків» (in Ukrainian). Channel "24". 31.03.2015
  15. ^ Ватнік обращонний: мультфильм Ирены Карпы (in Ukrainian), serie 1, Podrobnosti. 03.10.2014
  16. ^ Ватніца мутантка: мультфильм Ирены Карпы (in Ukrainian), serie 2, Podrobnosti. 10.10.2014
  17. ^ Ватнік понаєхавший: мультфильм Ирены Карпы (in Ukrainian), serie 3, Podrobnosti. 17.10.2014
  18. ^ Велікій ватний мир или Философия ватников. Мультфильм Ирены Карпы (in Ukrainian), serie 4, Podrobnosti. 24.10.2014
  19. ^ Рік ватніка: Мультфильм Ирены Карпы (in Ukrainian), serie 11, Podrobnosti. 26.12.2014
  20. ^ ОРЕСТ ЛЮТИЙ — «ВАТНИКИ» (in Ukrainian and Russian). OrestLutiy. 05.12.2014
  21. ^ Original text in Ukrainian: «Не пустимо в хату російську вату»
  22. ^ «Не пустимо в хату російську вату» — театралізована акція під Держкіно (in Ukrainian). Radio Liberty. 04.09.2014
  23. ^ a portmanteau literally meaning "Kremlin whore"
  24. ^ Original text in Russian: «Интер — ватный канал кремляди Фирташа»
  25. ^ У соцмережах повстали проти «Інтера» за концерт зірок, які підтримали агресію РФ (in Ukrainian). ТСН. 1+1. 01.01.2015
  26. ^ Original text in Russian: Гордое имя – «ватник»
  27. ^ Алтайський університет оголосив конкурс творів: "Горде ім'я — «ватник» (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 14.01.2015
  28. ^ Кровавый торт ватной действительности (in Russian). rufabula. 12.01.2015
  29. ^ ВАТА-TV (in Russian). Pervyi volont'orskiy
  30. ^ ВАТА TV. Official channel in YouTube

External links[edit]