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Ruben Vardanyan

Entrepreneur and philanthropist

Entrepreneur and philanthropist

1991
Ruben Vardanyan was invited to work at Troika Dialog. Initially, he ran the securities placement department and the following year — the entire company. Vardanyan was its permanent leader for more than 10 years. First as executive director, then as president, CEO, and chairman of the board of the group until Sberbank acquired Troika in 2012.

“Ruben Vardanyan is the man who built Russia’s first investment bank. He brought the word ‘investment’ to Russia and was the gold standard of investment in our country for a long time”.

Andrey Movchan, economist

“Ruben Vardanyan is the man who built Russia’s first investment bank. He brought the word ‘investment’ to Russia and was the gold standard of investment in our country for a long time”.

Andrey Movchan, economist
Subsequently, Troika Dialog participated in many landmark transactions for the Russian economy. In particular, it organized raising capital for KAMAZ, AvtoVAZ, Novatek, Sibur, and other strategic enterprises.

Many prominent Russian economists started out in Troika. “It was a foundry of talent. Ruben had a knack for bringing together very different people…”

Ruben Enikolopov, economist

Many prominent Russian economists started out in Troika. “It was a foundry of talent. Ruben had a knack for bringing together very different people…”

Ruben Enikolopov, economist
Ruben Vardanyan personally provided strategic consultations to Russian companies, including Rosgosstrakh, Sollers, Sheremetyevo International Airport, and Russian Venture Company.
1995
Ruben Vardanyan personally provided strategic consultations to Russian companies, including Rosgosstrakh, Sollers, Sheremetyevo International Airport, and Russian Venture Company.

“Although money is a virtually universal measure for many things, it cannot measure culture, spirituality, or other intangible aspects of life. Money is often seen as the answer to everything, but that is a great illusion.”

Ruben Vardanyan

“Although money is a virtually universal measure for many things, it cannot measure culture, spirituality, or other intangible aspects of life. Money is often seen as the answer to everything, but that is a great illusion.”

Ruben Vardanyan
1999
Along with other managers, Ruben founded the professional community Club 2015. Its participants worked on development scenarios for Russia until 2015.
2000-е

Despite his crucial role in Russian strategic processes, Ruben Vardanyan had always remembered Armenia. Having achieved significant business success, he launched a wide range of philanthropic activities.

In the early 2000s, Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan initiated the Armenia 2020 Project. It included creating Armenia’s development strategy until 2020. Over those 20 years, Vardanyan, together with his partners and friends, implemented and backed more than 700 projects in Armenia, Artsakh, and around the world aimed at the development, prosperity, and preservation of cultural and spiritual heritage.

2005
Ruben Vardanyan proposed the idea of creating the first private business school in Moscow. The project received massive support, with more than $600 million invested in it. As a result, several major intellectual centers emerged, including the Institute for Emerging Market Studies, the Wealth Transformation Centre, as well as the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. Vardanyan was its president until 2011.
September 16, 2006

The foundation of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO

MBA programs

Ten Fortune 500 companies have become clients of the school

80+ original educational programs

55 000+ students and graduates

September 16, 2006

The foundation of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO

MBA programs

Клиентами школы стали Ten Fortune 500 companies have become clients of the school

80+ original educational programs

55 000+ students and graduates

2010

One of Vardanyan’s landmark projects is the revival of the Tatev Monastery in Armenia. It can be called venture philanthropy: the project did not imply a return on investment — its main goal was to give the region an impetus for development.

The ancient Tatev Monastery was restored, and the Wings of Tatev cableway was built. This helped to attract significant investment to the region. A tourist cluster was established, and new employment opportunities emerged.

Wings of Tatev cableway
Tatev Monastery
2010

One of Vardanyan’s landmark projects is the revival of the Tatev Monastery in Armenia. It can be called venture philanthropy: the project did not imply a return on investment — its main goal was to give the region an impetus for development.

The ancient Tatev Monastery was restored, and the Wings of Tatev cableway was built. This helped to attract significant investment to the region. A tourist cluster was established, and new employment opportunities emerged.

Wings of Tatev cableway
Tatev Monastery
Dilijan School
Dilijan School
2012

Ruben Vardanyan and his wife Veronika Zonabend inspired the construction of the UWC Dilijan College. In 2012, together with their partners, they started building a unique educational institution designed to “unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”

Troika Dialog Partnership, with Vardanyan as the key shareholder, announced the decision to sell the company to Sberbank. Vardanyan himself focused on philanthropy and charity.

“There are things that last a lifetime, yet some things are temporary. I always knew that sooner or later I would sell the investment banking business and leave this position. I wasn’t planning to work as an investment banker until retirement, and I’ve never dreamt of working in one job…”

Ruben Vardanyan

“There are things that last a lifetime, yet some things are temporary. I always knew that sooner or later I would sell the investment banking business and leave this position. I wasn’t planning to work as an investment banker until retirement, and I’ve never dreamt of working in one job…”

Ruben Vardanyan
2013
An Armenian temple complex was opened in Moscow, with Ruben Vardanyan actively involved in its creation. The temple includes educational and guest complexes, as well as the Armenian Museum of Moscow and the Culture of Nations. It is the largest spiritual and educational building of the Armenian Apostolic Church outside of Armenia.
2014
Ruben Vardanyan founded the Philin (Philanthropy Infrastructure) Project, which later merged with Philgood and became known as Philin Philgood. The organization outsources the legal, financial, human resources, and IT work of non-profit organizations, relieving them of the need to solve problems in non-core areas. The merger of Philin and Philgood gave birth to a unique organization that provides a full range of services for NPOs.

9+ years of experience

150+ years of experience

200+ completed projects

  • Registration and launch of NPOs
  • Audit of the activities and documents of NPOs, risk assessment
  • Grant support
  • Financial support
  • Legal support
  • GR support
  • HR management
  • HR records management

9+ years of experience

150+ NPO clients

200+ completed projects

  • Registration and launch of NPOs
  • Audit of the activities and documents of NPOs, risk assessment
  • Grant support
  • Financial support
  • Financial support
  • GR support
  • HR management
  • HR records management
2015
Ruben Vardanyan, together with Noubar Afeyan and Vartan Gregorian, established the annual Aurora Prize. This award is given to those who risk their lives, health, or freedom to save others.
Surb Astvatsatsin Church
Surb Astvatsatsin Church
With the support of the charitable foundation Revival of the Eastern Historical Heritage, founded by Ruben Vardanyan, the restoration of Surb Astvatsatsin Church (Holy Mother of God) was initiated in the village of Mushkapat in Artsakh. The restoration project of the 13th-century building is an example of the effective implementation of a social investment model in the region.
Ruben Vardanyan initiated a project in Dilijan to build a new church on the bank of the Aghstev River. Today, not a single temple remains in the city, and the spiritual center of Dilijan residents is located on one of the premises of the Old Dilijan hotel complex. Church services and rituals are held there.
2019
With the support of Ruben Vardanyan’s foundation “Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA),” the Upper Govhar Agha Mosque, built in 1883, was restored in the city of Shushi in Artsakh. The restoration was completed in 2019.
2020
Ruben Vardanyan and his wife Veronika Zonabend launched the Noôdome Project in Moscow. This is a unique space for creative people who implement humanitarian and cultural projects aimed at changing the world for the better.
In October, Ruben Vardanyan posted a video message on the IDeA Foundation’s YouTube channel, in which he drew attention to a new round of conflict in Artsakh.
In November 2020, Ruben Vardanyan and his partners also launched an additional Aurora for Artsakh Program. Its goal was to attract medical specialists to the republic, support the wounded, and provide humanitarian assistance to residents of the unrecognized republic.
In November 2020, Ruben Vardanyan and his partners also launched an additional Aurora for Artsakh Program. Its goal was to attract medical specialists to the republic, support the wounded, and provide humanitarian assistance to residents of the unrecognized republic.
2021
Vardanyan became a partner of the project to create the Matena International School of Leadership and Professional Development in Armenia. Its mission is to develop professional skills and leadership qualities of those who constantly strive for excellence in their field.
matena

Collaboration with six of the top 20 business schools in the world in the field of executive training according to the Financial Times.
50 professors and experts from 14 countries.
More than 300 graduates — leaders from various fields and companies, including mayors, deputy ministers, founders and heads of IT companies, members of boards of directors, etc.
Ruben Vardanyan received the Philanthropist of the Year Award from Forbes Russia in the “For contribution to the development of international social projects” category.
In June, Vardanyan stated his decision to obtain Armenian citizenship.

“I realize that by becoming a public figure I take on a great burden and responsibility, but I see no other way. We must build the future together…”

Ruben Vardanyan

“I realize that by becoming a public figure I take on a great burden and responsibility, but I see no other way. We must build the future together…”

Ruben Vardanyan
On September 27, 2021, Ruben Vardanyan, David Gorodyansky, and Magomed Musaev presented ImpactFuture – a platform for socially transformative investments – in the Noôdome community space.
It was the first competitive impact investment platform in Russia, which brought together the investor and entrepreneur community to solve acute problems in an economically sustainable way.
2022
On September 1, 2022, Ruben Vardanyan announced his intention to move to Artsakh. He explained his decision with patriotic considerations and a desire to support local residents who were “in a grave psychological condition.”

“Vardanyan is a world-famous philanthropist and arts patron. His humanitarian projects have gained recognition beyond the borders of Armenia and Russia. The fact that some unscrupulous critics speculate about Vardanyan’s decision to renounce Russian citizenship is simply an attempt to denigrate the philanthropist…”

Sergey Mardan, journalist

“Vardanyan is a world-famous philanthropist and arts patron. His humanitarian projects have gained recognition beyond the borders of Armenia and Russia. The fact that some unscrupulous critics speculate about Vardanyan’s decision to renounce Russian citizenship is simply an attempt to denigrate the philanthropist…”

Sergey Mardan, journalist
In the autumn of 2022, Ruben Vardanyan renounced his Russian citizenship and moved to Artsakh.

“Vardanyan put his life on the line to show: I am with you, I am not abandoning you, I am defending my homeland, where I am. And he left for Karabakh. This choice inspired people much more than if he had led humanitarian projects while safely living in Moscow, Yerevan, or London…”

Alexander Asmolov, psychologist

“Vardanyan put his life on the line to show: I am with you, I am not abandoning you, I am defending my homeland, where I am. And he left for Karabakh. This choice inspired people much more than if he had led humanitarian projects while safely living in Moscow, Yerevan, or London…”

Alexander Asmolov, psychologist
On November 4, 2022, Ruben Vardanyan assumed the post of Minister of State of Artsakh and held it for almost four months — until February 23, 2023.
On November 14, 2022, “We are Our Mountains” Agency was established. The agency’s programs are aimed at protecting people affected by ongoing conflicts.
More than 280 tons
of food products were handed over to Artsakh residents
About 14 thousand sq. m
of greenhouse farms with special year-round harvest systems were provided by the agency
700
families received wood-burning stoves, diesel generators, and electric batteries, as well as building materials to repair houses damaged in the military conflict
517 kW
was the total capacity of the hybrid power plant created and installed for the republican medical center
For up to 12 hours
the operation time of vital departments of the medical center was extended in case of a blackout due to power outages
In addition, a mobile primary care team was created in the region for residents of remote areas
2024
In April, Ruben Vardanyan was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. His achievements include the development of peace initiatives and the prevention of a humanitarian catastrophe in Artsakh, as well as the struggle for human rights around the globe.
The projects that Ruben Vardanyan founded and contributed to in Russia, Armenia, and Artsakh continue to operate today. They actively promote the values and ideas that the philanthropist instilled in them, even though he remains in captivity.

“Of course, it is hard without Ruben, but at the same time, the need to continue our initiatives has become our foothold. We want the projects we started together to thrive and grow. Many people depend on us, and we are committed to supporting our activities as much as current circumstances allow…”

Veronika Zonabend, Ruben Vardanyan’s wife

“Of course, it is hard without Ruben, but at the same time, the need to continue our initiatives has become our foothold. We want the projects we started together to thrive and grow. Many people depend on us, and we are committed to supporting our activities as much as current circumstances allow…”

Veronika Zonabend, Ruben Vardanyan’s wife
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