A gopnik (Russian: гопник, tr. gopnik, ˈɡopnʲɪk; Ukrainian: гопнік, romanized: hopnik; Belarusian: гопнік, romanized: hopnik) is a member of a subculture in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet republics, ─ a young man (or a woman, sometimes known as a "gopnitsa") of lower-class background that usually lives in Russian suburban areas (usually Millennials) and comes from a family of poor education and income. The collective noun is gopota (Russian: гопота). 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 (such as the A.U.E.) that resemble gopniks still exist in Russia and in other Slavic and Baltic countries.
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.
Stereotypical appearance and behaviour
Gopniks 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. 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 popularized 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 firearms. They also utilize common Russian profanities and often behave rudely. Gopniks favor Lada Classics as their primary means of transport.
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 and Russian rock.
Some gopniks have Russian nationalism or Pan-Slavism as their primary political views, though there are also leftist or even far-right gopnik communities. Some gopniks hold strong anti-Western views.
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