Russia's participation was highlighted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened the fair late on March 14.
"I think we will see a lot of the importance of digital technology here at CeBIT: 6,000 exhibitors from 77 countries, with Russia here for the first time as official partner country," she said. "This promises to be exciting. Germany and Russia have very close economic ties."
Among the gadgets due to be showcased at the fair are traditional German lederhosen with a built-in mobile phone, a BMW car that can talk, and a bathroom mirror that can give share prices.
Internet In The Former Soviet Union
BREAKING THE NEWS: In 2000, Internews and the Center for Democracy and Technology established the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI) to promote an open, democratic, and user-controlled Internet in developing countries. Throughout the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, GIPI has worked to bring together local stakeholders and advocate policy reforms that will support development of the Internet as a tool of democratization, economic growth, and human development.
On May 3, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a roundtable discussion of these issues. Participants included PARVINA IBODOVA, chairman of the Civil Internet Policy Initiative and GIPI Coordinator; BOGDAN MANOLEA, Executive Director of the Romanian Association for Technology and Internet (APTI), an independent NGO that works to promote human rights in the digital environment and support digital civil rights in Romanian society; and experts working in the Internet policy development area from Belarus and Uzbekistan. Internet-policy advocates from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, and Ukraine also took part in the discussion.
LISTENListen to the entire 90-minute briefing (the first two minutes are low volume):
Real Audio Windows Media
To view an archive of RFE/RL's stories about the Internet, click here.