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Interviews

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Veronika Zonabend
In the land of holidays and sunshine
Tatler.ru, 26.05.2017
Veronika Zonabend spoke to Tatler about Armenia, the homeland of her husband, impact investor Ruben Vardanyan.
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Veronika Zonabend
Veronika Zonabend: The educational cluster will be an open ecosystem
Mediamax, 07.04.2017
In the last few months, several sessions of the interdepartmental commission on the creation of the Dilijan Educational Cluster have been held, headed by the Armenian Minister of Education. The initiative for the cluster came from IDeA Foundation and Scholae Mundi. Mediamax spoke with co-founder of both of those agencies and Chair of the Board of Governors of UWC Dilijan College Veronika Zonabend, to find out the initiative in detail.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: Aurora Prize has united whole nation
Tert.am, 08.02.2017
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is a very ambitious project, which requires a lot of constant work to address global problems and challenges
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Veronika Zonabend
Closer to the stars
Seasons of life, 01.01.2017
Veronika Zonabend about the school, education of the future, the courage to be yourself, and just how much one person can do achieve.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: It is our duty to make Armenia prosperous
13.12.2016
The impact investor and social entrepreneur talks about what Armenians need to learn in order to become a nation of winners.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: Live as if you were going to die tomorrow
21.11.2016
Andrei Vandenko
The impact investor and social entrepreneur spoke to TASS about what type of threat the coming demographic crisis poses to Russia, how the future will be about social capitalism and why social and educational projects are so important.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “We won’t get a second chance”
Mediamax, 21.10.2016
We approached the 25th anniversary of Armenia’s independence in a situation where the country’s model of management, built during this period, is experiencing a profound crisis.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan Changes The World One Country At A Time
Forbes, 11.10.2016
Brian Rashid
I got one hour with Mr. Vardayan, and wrote as much as I could. He quickly ran me through some of his most proud professional achievements. 
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “FAST must become the platform for a technological breakthrough”
Mediamax, 11.07.2016

The main lesson of the April war is obvious – we must strengthen Armenia, and no one will do it apart from us. Only a strong Armenia can avoid another war and be able to defend our interests through peaceful means, finding acceptable compromises for the sake of the country and the nation.

This is the only way we can ensure that the opposing side will uphold its obligations instead of waiting for the right moment to undertake yet another military escapade, and international mediators will respect the positions of Armenia and Artsakh.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: The recent war requires to speak openly
Mediamax, 22.04.2016

Co-founder of Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) foundation, Co-founder of 100 LIVES initiative and Aurora Prize Ruben Vardanyan hopes that the ceremony of Aurora Prize will help the Armenians get a different look at the world.

Ruben Vardanyan said this in an interview to Mark Grigoryan at “Tete-a-tete” program of ATV Channel on April 21.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “Base yourself on the past and look to the future”
AGOS (www.agos.com.tr), 19.10.2015

Projects about Armenian history and culture have a remarkable place in 14th Istanbul Biennale that is titled “Salt Water”. Dilijan Art Initiative, which is founded by Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonaben in order to support the cultural development of Dilijan city and Armenia, supports these important projects about the Armenians in Biennial.

One of the prominent figures of Armenian Diaspora, Russian investment banker Ruben Vardanyan is an important entrepreneur and philanthropist. IDeA Foundation (Initiatives for Development of Armenia) that he founded with his wife Veronika Zonabend has the purpose of creating a bright future and a comfortable life style in Armenia with long-term projects. The international school established in Dilijan which has students from 64 countries and “Tatel Revival” which has the purpose of facilitating the cultural and economic development in and around Tatev are the most important projects that were realized by this foundation.

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Ruben Vardanyan
RUBEN VARDANYAN: “INNER FREEDOM IS THE GREATEST HAPPINESS”
Mediamax, 23.01.2016
On January 23, businessman and philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan gave an interview to the “Public Agenda” program of the Public TV Company of Armenia. Mediamax picked out some ideas expressed during the interview.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan: “I don't want us to stop comparing ourselves to the best”
MEDIA.am, 10.09.2015

With his various initiatives in Armenia, ambitious and requiring large investments, it seems that the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and co-founder of IDeA Foundation Ruben Vardanyan is trying to return to local Armenians the charm and advantages of living with wide prospects and long-term plans.

IDeA Foundation's various projects – UWC Dilijan College, the Tatev Revival program, which began with the construction of the Wings of Tatev cableway, and the large-scale 100 LIVES project, which also includes a multilingual multimedia website and other small and large projects – began from a dream, Vardanyan says.

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Ruben Vardanyan
A Public Challenge: Find Humanity in the Inhumane
The Huffington Post, 07.07.2015

Nearly seven million people in the Sudan desperately need humanitarian assistance, facing a daily threat in some areas of bombing, rape and pillage by their government. The United Nations has condemned the Eritrean government for the gross human rights violations that have caused hundreds of thousands to flee the country. In Syria, nearly half the population is either internally displaced or has fled the country. Iraq, Syria’s neighbor, is no safe haven; there, ISIS systematically terrorizes and kills en masse on a daily basis.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Q&A: Ruben Vardanyan, Russia's Armenian Financier Turned Philanthropist
The Moscow Times, 27.05.2015
On one side of Ruben Vardanyan's open-plan office hangs a wall-size photograph of an Armenian mountain panorama. If you look closer you can see – in the center of the photo – a tiny figure of a man in a yellow sweater, with his back to the photographer, staring toward the distant peaks.
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Ruben Vardanyan
It is just the beginning
Mediamax, 25.05.2015
After the May 24 event at UWC Dilijan College, Co-Founder at IDeA (Initiatives for Development of Armenia) Charitable Foundation Ruben Vardanyan talked to journalists.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Induce Memory to Serve Us
The Huffington Post, 10.03.2015

Amid news of the repeated brutalities committed by Boko Haram in Africa, the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State throughout the Middle East, it's easy to presume that the 21st century is experiencing violations of human rights and dignity at a pace faster than ever before.

Perhaps. Or perhaps the images make us more aware of man's inhumanity to man, still unbridled and with a persistent sense of impunity.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Philanthropy is an inherent part of wealth preservation
SPIEF Review, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014, 17.05.2014
Ruben Vardanyan, head of the charity fund “Ruben Vardanyan and Veronica and friends” told SPIEF Review, as he understands charity and philanthropy, and what is the mission of organizations such as his foundation.
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Ruben Vardanyan
“The U.S. also has roaches, only fewer than we have” – Ruben Vardanyan, investor, advisor to the CEO of Sberbank of Russia
Vedomosti (Internet version), 29.04.2014
Redistribution of property in Russia is an inevitable process, since major companies cannot remain ineffective forever, cautions Ruben Vardanyan. Working on Ruben Vardanyan’s latest interview proved in many ways unusual. For example, we met twice. And whereas during the first meeting the suggestion to “discuss the international situation” was seen as a rather funny joke, subsequently the political situation began to change so quickly that we could hardly manage without this discussion. Vardanyan told Vedomosti how he chooses investment projects, how international investors see the situation in Russia and which fundamental changes the country has long needed. “I think that Russian business in the near future awaits quite a lot of bankruptcies and restructurings, since you cannot eternally inject money into companies bordering on demise and support the owners”, Vardanyan said. Sooner or later we must switch from the model of rescuing owners to the model of rescuing business. This fundamental change must finally happen”. Redistribution of property in Russia is an inevitable process, since major companies cannot remain ineffective forever, including in Russia, Vardanyan cautions.
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Ruben Vardanyan
I have a dream: to make philanthropy in Russia professional, powerful and systemic
SPEAR’S Russia, #4 (37), 02.04.2014
Following his exact plans, in 2014 Ruben Vardanyan has reduced his involvement in business while devoting more time and effort to philanthropy. Implementing his projects are the family foundation RVVZ (foundation of Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend) and IDeA Foundation (Initiatives for Development of Armenia), where the investment banker has provided the order and austerity of major financial firms. A prominent task going forward is building the philanthropy industry in Russia and across the whole post-Soviet space.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Prosperity model requires will, ambitions and risk
Mediamax, 26.06.2013
In our interview last February we spoke about the “industry of charity”. Has your understanding of this term changed over this time?
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Ruben Vardanyan
The idea of working shifts is awful
Vedomosti (Internet version), 07.03.2013
Why Russian entrepreneurs are good at creating one-off financial projects but not at producing consistent, global businesses. Ruben Vardanyan headed Troika Dialog for twenty years. Last year the brand ceased to exist. In less than a year, Mr. Vardanyan will say goodbye to the investment business. In this interview with Vedomosti, he talks about what partnership with Sberbank has brought to the former Troika, his personal investments and plans to change the approach to philanthropy in Russia.
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Ruben Vardanyan
It’s important to restore trust in the stock market
Rynok Tsennikh Bumag magazine, 14.11.2012
What do you see as the beginning of the stock market? When did you start believing that it was for real?
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Ruben Vardanyan
Laying the bricks for the new world
BRICS Business Magazine (Premier issue), 20.10.2012
Diversity – the word that may end up best capturing the essence of the 21st century, an era that will be defined by multipolarity and multiculturalism, believes Ruben Vardanyan, chairman of the editorial board of BRICS Business Magazine, Co-head of Sberbank CIB*. He outlined his view of the economic and geopolitical changes that the world may be facing over the next thirty years. It’s a view in which Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will figure prominently.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The best deal of my entire career
Gazeta.Ru, 19.09.2012
Ruben Vardanyan tells about the Sberbank privatization deal

Ruben Vardanyan, President of Troika Dialog, the coordinator of Sberbank’s recent SPO, shared with Gazeta.Ru that he considers the deal the most successful of his career. And given the high demand for the shares of the state-controlled bank, the window for new placements this year is not closed, added Vardanyan.
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Ruben Vardanyan
SKOLKOVO has some problems, but this is normal for any growing organism
Moskovskie Novosti, 02.08.2012
Ruben Vardanyan on the ideal SKOLKOVO graduates, the business school’s prospects and the reasons for the Moscow protests President of Troika Dialog Investment Company and one of the founders of SKOLKOVO business school, Ruben Vardanyan, explains to MN the source of the rumors regarding SKOLKOVO’s merger with the New Economic School (NES), whom he considers the business school’s ideal graduates, and why Moscow’s middle class has started to protest.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Dialogue with Sberbank
Expert-Ukraine magazine, 21.05.2012
In January of this year, Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and Troika Dialog, a Russian investment firm, announced the closing of their merger. The memorandum of understanding for the purchase of a 100% stake in Troika Dialog for one billion dollars was concluded by Sberbank and the investment company’s shareholders in March 2011, following years of negotiations. According to Troika’s founder Ruben Vardanyan, the final agreement for the merger was signed in the office of Sberbank chairman Herman Gref.

Today, Mr. Vardanyan, who has been head of the company since 1992, is seeking a successor. In an exclusive interview with “Expert”, the president of Troika Dialog, co-head of the corporate-investment unit, and head of wealth management at Sberbank of Russia spoke about how much longer he intends to work in the new structure and what its tasks are.
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Ruben Vardanyan
We are going to face either reformation or revolution or inquisition
Mediamax, 06.02.2012
In late January, Russian newspapers wrote that “Troika Dialog” “doesn’t exist anymore” meaning that after closing the deal of selling the company to Sberbank there will be no “Troika” brand any longer. You said in your interview to the “Vedomosti” that “there is no point in preserving the brand: if we want to develop the services of Sberbank Group it will be more proper to be called Sberbank”. Don’t you have any emotions on this occasion? For the brand you have been establishing since 1991 heading the first investment bank in the Soviet Union stops existing.
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Ruben Vardanyan
It’s possible that once again we will exchange kilograms of salt for kilograms of sugar
Kommersant, 31.08.2011
The zone of turbulence that the financial markets found themselves in at the start of August is still with us – indexes remain extremely volatile. Do any effective instruments for extinguishing the tension on the markets exist? Who benefited from the derivatives market of financial instruments growing to $1,200 trillion, despite the fact that the world economy is equal to about $60 trillion? Why is it more convenient to throw rubbish out the window and why are traders becoming cleaners? Ruben Vardanyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Troika Dialog, talked about the above in this interview with Kommersant, which continues the cycle of materials evaluating the situation on the financial markets.
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Ruben Vardanyan
There will be another serious shock
Gazeta.Ru, 28.06.2011
The crisis didn’t lead to the improvement of the world financial system – Ruben Vardanyan, Troika Dialog’s Board of Directors Chairman, believes another serious shock can be expected. This affects the outlook for investment companies’ professional activities.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Tourism shouldn’t be confused with emigration
Kommersant, 30.05.2011
Last week the final details were officially agreed to in the deal for Sberbank’s purchase of Troika Dialog, a Russian investment bank. The merger between the largest state-owned bank and Russia’s oldest investment bank is viewed by market participants as part of a growing trend on the Russian financial market toward a monopoly of state-controlled players. In an interview with Kommersant, Ruben Vardanyan, CEO of Troika Dialog, speaks about why negotiations on the deal lasted more than half a year, how adding the prefix “gov-” helps to secure deal mandates, how the resignation of Herman Gref would benefit Troika’s top executives and why it is important to keep an eye on ambulance routes.
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Ruben Vardanyan
You can fool anyone you want, but you can’t fool yourself
BOSCOMAGAZINE, 28.03.2011
In their home country, Russian businessmen are scolded rather than loved: “They could learn a thing or two.” What this means, of course, is learning to earn money: do it quicker and easier. Ruben Vardanyan, of course, can tell you how to earn money, forecast risks and valuate deals. But he can tell you even more about how to be a person. Some will tell you that being a person is the simplest thing of all. But go ahead and try. All I can say is that Ruben Vardanyan does it well.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The crisis showed we have no capitalism
Vedomosti, 30.09.2010
The strengthening of the government’s role in the economy led to a regrettable result: some businessmen resemble Soviet factory directors, profiting off the government by shifting expenses to the latter while leaving the profits for themselves, with everyone else deprived of access to the officials’ offices and left searching for options, according to Vardanyan. He has headed Troika Dialog for nearly 20 years, but intends to leave and sell his stake in the company. Mr. Vardanyan spoke with Vedomosti about preparations for the eventual split.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Troika’s Vardanyan to Quit in 3 to 5 Years, Offer 40%
Bloomberg, 23.07.2010
Ruben Vardanyan, chairman of Troika Dialog, said he will quit Russia’s oldest brokerage in three to five years and will offer his 40 percent stake to the firm’s management.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The 21st century — The Time of People
Imperial magazine, 18.06.2010
The CEO of Troika Dialog admits he doesn’t possess musical or artistic talents. The only thing he knows how to do inside and out is to create business and oversee ambitious projects with an aim for the future.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The cautious optimist
The Telegraph – Russia Now, 29.04.2010
At this year’s Russian Business Week in London, Troika Dialog chairman Ruben Vardanyan talked about problems in the economy, modernization and attracting the best people.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Lots of volatility and anemic growth lie ahead
Kommersant-Dengi magazine, 15.02.2010
Offering his summary report on the investors’ congress to Dengi special correspondent Petr Rushailo is Ruben Vardanyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Troika Dialog.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The Promising Continent
The Moscow Times.com, 23.11.2009
Last month I visited the 13th Africa Forum in Cape Town, organized by Troika Dialog’s strategic partner Standard Bank. Talking with delegates, I was struck once again by the sheer scale of opportunity that exists in Africa for Russian business, just as Russia becomes an increasingly attractive market for African products.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Soapbox: gulf between teaching and reality
Financial Times blog, 18.11.2009
The world has changed dramatically and continues to change rapidly.

In this new reality the traditional business school format, based on the western template, no longer provides the level of knowledge and quality of education necessary for students and which employers demand.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Putting a trade twist on an investment bank
Global Trade Review, 01.11.2009
With Standard Bank’s stake in Troika Dialog formally approved in September, the Russian investment house is about to venture into new markets and product lines, including trade finance. Rebecca Spong met with Ruben Vardanyan, chairman and CEO of Troika Dialog, to find out more.
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Ruben Vardanyan
You aren’t protected in Russia
Vedomosti, 29.10.2009
The global financial system collapsed in 2008: two of the oldest investment banks – Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers – suffered a crash, while their peers had no choice but to become commercial banks. One year ago, at the height of the crisis, Ruben Vardanyan said in an interview with Vedomosti that Troika Dialog had withstood the crisis and wouldn’t even sell a minority stake. However, it was announced in March that South Africa’s Standard Bank had acquired a 33% stake in Troika Dialog Group. Vardanyan spoke with Vedomosti about the other scenarios for business development reviewed by Troika, how the investment bank is faring in the new situation, and his various other projects at the moment.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Private Banking does not mean taking money abroad
RBK Daily, 29.09.2009
There are no hurdles left for the merger between Troika Dialog and Standard Bank: the regulatory organs in Russia, the U.K. and South Africa have given their approval to the deal. Speaking with RBK Daily correspondent Albert Koshkarov about how the alliance will lead to the creation of a new financial institute capable of working effectively on global markets is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Troika Dialog Group Ruben Vardanyan.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Russian-African friendship
Forbes Russia, 26.06.2009
In March 2009, Standard Bank and Troika Dialog announced a strategic partnership deal: South Africa’s largest bank acquired a 33% stake in the Russian investment company for $200 mln and also contributed its entire subsidiary Russian bank to Troika. The partnership raised a number of questions, namely: hadn’t Standard Bank rescued Troika (similar to how Renaissance Capital had been rescued by the Onexim Group) from a mountain of debt? And was this deal a conversion of Troika’s debt to Standard Bank into shares? We met with the directors of Troika Dialog and Standard Bank separately in order to ask them both the same questions – about the deal in March, the outlook for the financial market, and the current economic situation.
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Ruben Vardanyan
We will be the biggest driver of growth in the future
CNN, 26.01.2009
I think it’s great that he is here. I think everybody is concerned not only with Russia, but the worldwide crisis and about how the different countries that are playing an important role can influence decisions which will help us solve these problems quicker. I hope that Prime Minister Putin will address the main issues not about Russia but about the global picture and about how Russia in this global picture can play an important role.
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Ruben Vardanyan
Russia’s lessons in capitalism, Moscow vision, MBA
The Times, 20.10.2008
Oligarchs are funding an innovative new college, reports Des Dearlove Nestled in extensive grounds to the southwest of the Russian capital, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO is yet another sign of Russia’s growing confidence. Founded in 2006, it boasts a Who’s Who of Russian oligarchs on its board. This autumn the new school will start taking MBA applications and it will welcome its inaugural MBA class next year.
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Ruben Vardanyan
We had one fundamental difference – an enormous well of trust
Vedomosti, 10.10.2008
The financial crisis in Russia was first felt by the brokers. Russia’s largest broker managed to stay on its feet – even promising to pay out employee bonuses at year-end – but is not counting on any profits this year. For the past two weeks, market participants have taken a grim outlook on Troika, thinking that the crisis will ruin the company. But the company has survived.
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Ruben Vardanyan
The view from both sides of the fence
MMC Momentum Magazine, 14.02.2007
Ruben Vardanyan, the newest member of MMC’s International Advisory Board (IAB), is chairman and CEO of Troika Dialog Group – the oldest and largest private investment bank in Russia and a market leader in securities sales and trading, investment banking, asset management, and private equity.

Mr. Vardanyan is a leading figure in Russia’s capital markets. He played a key role in the development of the country’s stock market, and has been named “Businessperson of the Year” by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. He was also cited in a Fortune magazine article on the next generation of global leaders as one of the 25 “Rising Stars” for 2001. In 2004 he won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Russia..

As chairman and CEO of Troika Dialog, Mr. Vardanyan is also an MMC cross-company client. He recently sat down with Momentum editor Vince Beatty to discuss the business climate in Russia and the vast opportunities it presents for MMC, as well as his experience as a cross-company client and MMC IAB member.
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Ruben Vardanyan
It’s a tough situation right now; everything and everywhere must change at once
Slon.ru, 23.12.2014

The former CEO of Troika Dialog, founder of Skolkovo Business School and partner of investment company Vardanyan, Broitman and Partners speaks about new projects, the logic of current events and prospects.

Ruben Vardanyan scheduled the interview for eight in the morning. He says that he usually works from eight in the morning until eleven at night. Apparently, following the sale of Troika Dialog (in October 2011) and departure from the business of Sberbank CIB (in August 2013), Vardanyan’s work has scarcely slowed down.

An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ruben Vardanyan dislikes speaking about politics and the economy, which is today inseparably tied to politics. This is not only because he is generally very cautious in his statements: he is truly much more interested by what he directly engages in and is able to impact himself.

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Ruben Vardanyan
Ruben Vardanyan, former Troika Dialog CEO: a grumbling optimist
Financial Times, 14.01.2015

For a man once called the poster boy of Russian capitalism, Ruben Vardanyan is remarkably relaxed about the crisis erupting around him. Sitting in his office in one of Moscow’s premier office complexes, which he also owns, surrounded by deal trophies and other symbols of his success, Mr Vardanian’s response to the rouble’s collapse and the slide towards recession is typically Russian: it has been worse.

“It’s all relative,” he says, before counting off a list of Russian economic crises of the past quarter century since the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Looking back for 25 years being in this country I can tell you, there are always challenges.”

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Ruben Vardanyan
Patch Adams and His Clowns Bring Health and Humor to Armenia
The Moscow Times, 28.05.2015
YEREVAN – One Russian philanthropist has just completed the trial run of a unique investment vehicle: a bus filled with clowns. Ruben Vardanyan, founder of investment bank Troika Dialog, sponsored a visit to Armenia by clown doctor Patch Adams and 20 clowns from around the world this past week. They were joined by Maria Yeliseyeva, founder of Russian children's charity Maria's Children, who added 10 clown participants to the colorful delegation. Yeliseyeva introduced Patch, with whom she has been working on clown trips in Russia for the last 30 years, to Vardanyan at a charity event in November.
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Veronika Zonabend
A conversation with Veronika Zonabend
OCULA, 25.09.2016
By Stephanie Bailey

Along with husband Ruben Vardanyan, Veronika Zonabend is the founder of Dilijan Art Initiative, which is a new project for the IDeA (Initiatives for Development of Armenia) Charitable Foundation, also set up by Vardanyan and Zonabend.

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Veronika Zonabend
Veronika Zonabend: IDeA and Scholae Mundi launch new joint educational projects
Mediamax, 18.09.2015
Ara Tadevosyan
UWC Dilijan College welcomed 94 new students this year. As of now, 190 students from 63 countries study at the college. In May 2016, UWC Dilijan will have its first graduates, and the college founders are ready to help them continue their education. Mediamax talked to Chair of the Board of Governors of UWC Dilijan College, co-founder of IDeA and Scholae Mundi Charitable Foundations Veronika Zonabend.