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So there’s now a pro-Russian version of the sea shanty that went viral on TikTok last year

And it’s absolutely harrowing

Just over a year ago, The Wellerman sea shanty was all over our TikTok for you pages. Now, it’s back, but in a distinctly sinister way.

A group of Russian-backed separatists have made a version of the iconic sea shanty, and it’s jam-packed with propaganda and pro-Russian symbolism.

A video has gone viral on Twitter of women dressed as World War I nurses, dancing and singing in front of a flag of the Luhansk People’s Republic.

Luhansk is a pro-Russian part of Eastern Ukraine and is swiftly becoming a focal point of the ongoing war.

In the video, the women salute “the motherland” and do a dance routine that often forms a “Z” shape – a symbol that’s become synonymous with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


“There lies on the land a big country,” they sing. Beautiful and honest, strong in the soul, rich in nature and spreading wide — Russia!

“Be proud of the motherland! Remember the heroes for centuries! Glory to the holy land! Russia!”

The Wellerman sea shanty went viral on TikTok last year

The Wellerman went viral on TikTok last year when Scottish postman Nathan Evans released a version of the tune.

The original version dates back to 19th century New Zealand, telling the story of a whaling ship called the Billy o’Tea.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• ShantyTok: Why is everyone suddenly obsessed with sea shanties on TikTok?

• These Ukrainian students are struggling to flee the war and secure safe passage to the UK

• The UK universities supporting Ukrainian students and academics caught up in the war