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Recently there has been a lot of debate regarding Germany's hesitation to provide tanks to Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has been asking for military support from their allies in light of ongoing conflict with Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. However, the German government has been reluctant to provide lethal weapons, including tanks, due to concerns about escalating the violence. Only under severe pressure from its allies and a U.S. commitment to send Abrams tanks did Germany finally relent.

Germany has a troubled history in the 20th century, including its association with authoritarian and fascist regimes. However, it has since become a leading voice for human rights, democracy, and stability in Europe. The country has been one of the main benefactors of the post-WWII security structure, allowing it to become the main economic power in Europe. This position of leadership requires the country to take decisive actions in the face of ongoing threats to the security of the region.

The conflict in Ukraine triggered by Russian aggression is one such threat. The annexation of Crimea and the ongoing violence in Ukraine pose a significant challenge to the region's stability and the security of Europe as a whole. In light of this, Germany needs to take a firm stance in support of Ukraine and the principles it upholds.

By providing battle tanks to Ukraine, Germany would send a message that it stands with those fighting against oppressive regimes and working to uphold freedom and democracy. Furthermore, it would demonstrate that the country is willing to take an active role in preventing the current fascist regime in Europe under Putin from attaining political goals via violence. In this sense, providing tanks to Ukraine could be seen as a way for Germany to make amends for its past submission to fascism and to work towards a better future for all.

In conclusion, while Germany's past association with fascism will always be a part of its history, it should not prevent the country from taking a strong stance against Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine in its time of need. Providing heavy weapons to Ukraine would be a meaningful step towards this goal and would demonstrate Germany's commitment to a peaceful, stable, and democratic Europe.

Kenneth Maher earned an M.A. in Russian Area Studies and served as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer. He is also the author of "Wind of Change: An American Journey in Post-Soviet Russia".

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BBC journalist, Adam Curtis, has recently released a new documentary series entitled, Traumazone: What It Felt Like to Live Through the Collapse of Communism and Democracy, based on hundreds of hours of video footage long forgotten in the BBC archives. Spanning the period from 1985 to 1999, the series follows the thoughts and actions of ordinary Soviet and Russian citizens struggling to cope with the enormous transformation occurring in their country. One shares while watching the videos the anger, shock, hope, bewilderment, laughter, exhaustion, and betrayal experienced by the population.

The series presents a stark reminder of this unique period when Cold War animosities waned, and people in the East and West hoped for a better future. There is no narrator or narration, leaving the viewer to make his/her own interpretations of what is happening. The videos are relevant today and provide a detailed glimpse into how and why the Russia that emerged from the USSR failed to create a robust and stable democracy. The series offers video evidence of how disillusionment with market shock therapy led to the rise of Vladimir Putin and the return of authoritarianism.

There are many memorable scenes. Russian children singing songs about Pepsi-Cola, an endless line in front of Mcdonald's in Moscow, an old woman on trial in a local people's court for stealing toiletries, brazen criminality by "mafioso", panic-stricken Russians seeing their savings wiped out by runaway inflation, food riots in Moscow put down by police, a growing desire for an end to the chaos with nostalgia for the Stalinist days.

This wonderful series is available on the BBC site only in the UK, but one can find the episodes on Youtube. I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to revisit this period with its foreboding of current events.

Kenneth Maher earned an M.A. in Russian Area Studies and served as a U.S. Army military intelligence officer. He is also the author of "Wind of Change: An American Journey in Post-Soviet Russia".

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The war in Ukraine can be traced back to the failure of democracy to take hold in Russia in the early 1990s. Blame is shared on both sides, and a revisit of this period is useful for understanding how we got to the present situation.

I wrote this account of my adventures as a young, impressionable man who embarked on a journey of a lifetime to a country emerging from decades of darkness. The book is written as a collection of personal anecdotes that provide insight, often comical, into the culture clash between East and West that has yet to be resolved.

"...A remarkable, adventure-packed odyssey in Russia.... It will challenge readers to think more critically about international relations and world governments." San Francisco Book Review

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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