Gopnik

slav squat

gopnik is a member of a slavic subculture stereotyped as prone to hooliganism. Gopota are often seen squatting in groups ‘in court’ or ‘doing the crab’ with their heels on the ground, a behavior attributed to Soviet prison culture and avoidance of sitting on the cold ground.

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. By the late 2010s, it had 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.’ 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 a Russian explanatory dictionary, an old slang word for ‘sleeping on street’ (‘gopat,’ literally ‘to gop’) something that was related to the ‘mazuricks’ or the criminals of Saint Petersburg.

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