Pat Buchanan

A week ago, in the St. George's Hall in the Kremlin, Russia's elite cheered and wept as Vladimir Putin announced the re-annexation of Crimea. Seven in 10 Russians approve of Putin's rule.

In Crimea, the Russian majority has not ceased celebrating. The re-conquest nears completion. In Eastern Ukraine, Russians have now begun to agitate for annexation by Moscow.

Ukrainian nationalism, manifest in the anti-Russia coup in Kiev, has produced its inevitable reaction among Russians.

While praising the Ukrainians who came out to Maidan to protest peacefully, Putin said that those behind the decisive events "resorted to terror, murder and riots. Nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes and anti-Semites executed this coup." The Kremlin erupted in cheers.

But not only in Ukraine is ethnic nationalism surging.

"National Front Vote Stuns Hollande" was the headline on the Financial Times' story about France's municipal elections Sunday.

Though the FN of Marine Le Pen, daughter of party founder Jean Marie Le Pen, did not field candidate in many cities, it won the mayoral race outright in Henin-Beaumont and ran first or second in a dozen medium-sized cities, qualifying for run-off elections on March 30.

"The National Front has arrived as a major independent force -- a political force both at the national and local levels," declared Le Pen.

No one is arguing the point. Indeed, a measure of panic has set in for the socialist party of Francois Hollande, which is calling on all parties to unite against FN candidates.

In early polling for the May elections for the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the National Front is running close behind the UMP of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, and ahead of Hollande's socialists.

Begun as an anti-immigrant, anti-EU Party, the FN has broadened its base to issues like crime and unemployment.

But the most startling news on the nationalist front last week came in Venice and the Veneto region, where 89 percent of a large turnout in a non-binding referendum voted to secede from Italy and re-establish the Venetian republic that vanished in 1866.

Exulted Luca Zaia of the separatist Northern League, "The will for secession is growing very strong. We are only at the Big Bang of the movement -- but revolutions are born of hunger and we are now hungry. Venice can now escape."

The proposed "Repubblica Veneta" would embrace five million inhabitants of Veneto. Should it succeed in seceding, Lombardy and Trentino would likely follow, bringing about a partition of Italy. Sardinia is also reportedly looking for an exit.


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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