KYIV, Ukraine — Canada, along with its allies, have dusted-off a Cold War playbook in order to push back against Russian influence in Ukraine.
Separate from the upcoming military training program, the Harper government is spending over $49 million in an attempt to fight Kremlin influence with grassroots ideologue rather than tanks, artillery and troops.
The plans have been quietly announced here and there over the last year, by press release or in speeches to interest groups, making it difficult to build a comprehensive picture of where the money is going.
The Canadian Federation of Municipalities is leading a program to train municipal managers while other international organizations are instructing Ukrainian political parties and civil society in political action and engagement.
Former diplomat Bob Fowler says it is a switch for Canada, which in Europe during the 1960s, 70s and 80s concentrated on military and passive intelligence-gathering.
But the U.S. has long been the business of funding democracy-promoting initiatives, especially during the Cold War.