Russian Exhibitors Barred from CES Over Ukraine Invasion

CES said nyet to Russian exhibitors this year because of their country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The world’s largest annual tech convention opened to the public Thursday morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center, though it opened on Tuesday evening to the media and tech VIPs.

CES 2023
CES 2023
The 2023 CES show began welcoming its usual onslaught of visitors this week. The welcome mat was not put out for exhibitors from Russia, however. (Image:

According to the Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, “several” Russian companies requested to take part but were instructed to relocate to another country in order to exhibit their devices or services. In all, 3,000 companies signed up to attend.

In an interview with BBC Television, CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, 2022, a “tragic and illegal assault on the people and independent nation of Ukraine.”

“We did not welcome them this year, given the political situation,” Shapiro said of Russian exhibitors while wearing a Ukrainian flag pin on his jacket lapel. “We just didn’t feel it was appropriate.”

Shapiro said the decision “wasn’t a matter of legal policy for the United States. It’s a matter of our policy as an organization.”

Though no Russian companies exhibited at last year’s CES show, four attended virtually. Shapiro noted that “about a dozen” Ukrainian tech companies would exhibit on this year’s convention floor, and he encouraged CES attendees to support them.

“A lot of people from around the world want to support Ukraine,” he said. “I know my wife actively seeks out products from Ukraine that she can order, and we have bought stuff from Ukraine directly.”

CES 2023 is expected to welcome around 100K attendees by the time it concludes on Sunday.

Tech Industry Fighting its Own Russian War

The invasion of Ukraine has had an impact on the technology sector that most people aren’t aware of.

In May, Russia, the world’s largest supplier of noble gases, severely limited their export to countries considered unfriendly to the nation, as per a report by Russian state news outlet TASS. Noble gases – such as neon, argon, and helium –  are required by the semiconductor industry to produce the electronic chips embedded in all modern internet devices.

The export limits came just as the semiconductor industry was recovering from the worst supply crisis in its history. Last year, carmakers built 10 million fewer vehicles because of the chip shortage, according to LMC Automotive.

Russia’s policy was a direct response to the sanctions imposed against it by 30 countries, including the US, Canada, and the European Union, and to America’s equipping Ukraine with military supplies, such as drones and artillery shells.

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