In an exclusive interview with ARKA news agency the well-known Russia-based businessman and philanthropist of Armenian origin, Ruben Vardanyan, speaks about his programs in his homeland and Nagorno-Karabakh, and also about the problems facing the economies of Russia and Armenia.
ARKA - This autumn about one hundred children from 50 countries will be enrolled at UWC Dilijan College, one of your most successful projects. What new projects do you plan to carry out in Armenia?
Vardanyan – We have quite a large program for Armenia and now we are just at the beginning of the road. We need to accomplish the Tatev program – I mean the entire Tatev cluster and everything related to and around it; we have a big project for Dilijan which is not associated only with the international school, but also with its development. We are planning a project for Nagorno-Karabakh and are very actively involved in several other projects, one way or another connected with Armenia. They all are designed to make Armenia more attractive and more interesting for tourists and most importantly, for people living in Armenia itself so that they feel that there are interesting and positive developments making life in their country brighter, better, giving more opportunities for self-fulfillment in their homeland.
ARKA-Many people in Armenia are closely watching the situation in the Russian economy wondering whether it will be able to recover from the blows it received as a result of mounting tension between Russia and the West?
Vardanyan – Russia did not suffer political blows, but there are serious challenges in terms of economic development and changes in the country. The challenges are many, but I hope that the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union will enable it to rebuild its economy and shift from production of raw materials to development of information and services to become more diversified. These challenges are serious, and I hope that a right decision will be made.
ARKA - How will it affect Armenia? Will the Armenian economy be able to cope with these impacts?
Vardanyan – We should not constantly talk about blows without noticing the opportunities. But crises are possible. Secondly, I have to say that Armenia has its own challenges, problems, capabilities, which must be used properly to react to what is happening in the world. Not only what is happening in Russia affects Armenia, but also what is happening in Turkey, Iran, Europe, and America. Therefore, Armenia, as a small country, needs to be more adaptive than larger countries. I think Armenia has all the chances to find its own niche, its own projects, which will allow it to remain stable.
ARKA - In recent years, Armenia has been improving its position in various economic rankings, but the inflow of foreign investment into the country has been falling. Why and what Armenia needs to do to resolve this problem?
Vardanyan - I'm not an expert in the Armenian economy. I must say frankly that I do not follow in depth what is happening in the Armenian economy, and I do not know about those numbers, you're talking about. But overall, everything is very simple - any country is as attractive as it can provide clear, transparent and not changing rules of game. In this sense, any country where these rules are clear, understandable and the same for all is attractive for investors even if it is not very large.
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