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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, former Soviet republics, Israel, and Russian-speakers in East Slavic countries 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 Tsarist Russia, and evolved during the Soviet era in metropolitan centers such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. [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 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), "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 often are seen wearing fake Adidas tracksuits, made by Adidas knockoff brands such as Adibas and Abibas, where Adidas was popularised by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team.[8] Sunflower seeds (colloquially semyon (семён), semki (семки) or semechki (семечки)) are habitually eaten by gopniks. Consumption creates piles of discarded sunflower seed husks in Belarus known as splovvayutstsa (сплёўваюцца),[7] they typically drink vodka or beer out of plastic cups. They are stereotypically enemies of punks, tusovka.[9][10][11], and communists.

Gopniks are commonly nationalist and having a strong opposition against the Western world and Western culture, most notably being anti-American in general. There are also far-right or even neo-Nazi gopnik communities as well. [12]

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 c 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. 
  9. ^ Pilkington, Hilary (11 January 2013). "Russia's Youth and its Culture: A Nation's Constructors and Constructed". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ Bova, Russell (12 February 2015). "Russia and Western Civilization: Cutural and Historical Encounters". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ Gololobov, Ivan; Pilkington, Hilary; Steinholt, Yngvar B. (24 April 2014). "Punk in Russia: Cultural Mutation from the 'useless' to the 'moronic'". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  12. ^

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Gopnik at Wikimedia Commons

Further reading[edit]