ⓘ Gopnik


ⓘ Gopnik

A gopnik is a member of a subculture in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics - a young man of lower-class suburban areas coming from families of poor education and income. The female form is gopnitsa, and the collective noun is gopota. 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. As of the late 2010s, the subculture has faded for the most part, although youth gangs that resemble gopniks still exist in Russia and in other Slavic countries.


1. Etymology

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

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 Dahls 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.


2. Stereotypical appearance and behaviour

Gopniks are often seen squatting in groups "in court" на кортах or "doing the crab" на крабе outside blocks of flats or schools with their heels on the ground. It is described as a learned behavior attributed to Russian prison culture to avoid sitting on the cold ground.

Gopniks are often seen wearing Adidas or Puma tracksuits mostly Adidas, which were popularised by the 1980 Moscow Olympics Soviet team. 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, low-end mobile devices, and sometimes even firearms. They also utilize common Russian profanities and often behave rudely. Gopniks often drive Lada Classics or older BMWs as their primary means of transport.

The subculture is stereotypically associated with Russian chanson music, specifically the blatnaya pesnya subgenre prisoners songs, lyrics etc.; also, since the mid-2010s, in internet memes and viral videos, with hardbass and Russian rock.

Gopniks commonly have Russian nationalism or Pan-Slavism as their primary political views, though there are also leftist or even far-right gopnik communities. Gopniks typically hold strong anti-Western views.