» Everything we do is for Armenia, not the government. Ruben Vardanyan

Everything we do is for Armenia, not the government. Ruben Vardanyan

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Attractive for investment, with unique nature and water, exceptional shots. A country worth sacrificing the most for. This is the case with Armenia for well-known philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan.

Ruben Vardanyan, a well-known benefactor of Russian Forbes's list of Russian businessmen, told Sputnik in an interview with Sputnik how he wants to see Armenia in the future, why he is far from politics and what makes the country attractive to foreign investors. Interviewed by Maria Naumenko.

- Has your vision of Armenia's future changed after the recent political changes? Do you think it has become clearer?

- Debates on various topics have increased. I think the country is still choosing the economic model. As the subject becomes more and more relevant.

There are three cornerstones: prosperity, security and identity. There are three important issues facing Armenia: how to maintain security with two closed borders, how to preserve identity in a globalized environment. And in terms of prosperity, Armenia is a small country with a small market that needs expansion.

“Hayern Aysor”: Has the business position in Armenia changed in recent years?

- I don't have a business in Armenia. However, many say that it is easier to work today and that corruption has diminished.

- What makes Armenia attractive to foreign investors today?

- First, the currency is in a very stable position. this problem always exists in the post-Soviet space. Armenia is one of the few countries where there has been no depreciation, exchange rate fluctuations, it has a very reliable banking system.

Second, Armenia is both a member of the Eurasian Union and an associate member of the European Union, in addition to its good relations with Iran. It seems to me that this is an exceptional phenomenon that gives the country an advantage.

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Third, there are quite good staff in the field of technology, IT, science. And, of course, agriculture - exceptional nature, water, land.

- Apart from highly qualified staff, what are the prerequisites for Armenia to become an incubator of innovations, an IT center?

- We have a science and technology foundation in Armenia called FAST. There is enormous potential and the country's unique competitive advantage in combining different cultures - Diaspora Armenians, local Armenians, and other peoples.

What FAST has done over the last 20 years is a great innovation not only for Armenia but for the whole world. Armenia is small in size, which is why it is easier to experiment with innovation than in a large country where there are many regulatory requirements. And Armenia is more flexible. At the same time Armenia was a Silicon Valley of the Soviet Union, where the legacy had accumulated, allowing a number of innovative things to look the other way. Everything is done not from scratch, but based on the existing framework.

- You participated in the ATLANTY CITY-2019 business education project. Do you often act as a teacher?

- I give reports at the Skolkovo School of Management in Moscow, conduct master classes in Armenia when invited. And lecturing requires a lot of preparation, a lot of time that I don't have.

- What role do you play in the development of the republic of Aurora, which is called the Nobel Peace Prize?

- We hope that Aurora really gives Armenia an opportunity to present itself on today's world map not only as a country with interesting investment opportunities, but also as a humanitarian capital of the world that solves global global problems, indifferent not only to Armenians but also to other nationalities towards.

In addition, Aurora helps Armenians from the Diaspora and Armenia to look at themselves and their future from another perspective. In this respect, Aurora plays an important role in changing mental self-consciousness.

- Which project you are implementing in Armenia today is the most significant for you?

- We have a complex approach. Next year will be the 19th anniversary of the Armenia 2020 Initiative. So many years ago we began to implement our plans for the future of the country. We see that this whole system of interconnected complex projects works - both FAST, Dilijan School, Aurora, and cultural and tourism projects. In this respect, our approaches are very comprehensive, like Armenia - one unity. We also carry out projects outside the country related to the Armenian world.

- How do you interact with the current leadership of the country?

- We cooperate normally without active advice. They know everything, just like the previous authorities.