Leonid Slutsky is a Soviet and Russia soccer player, a goalkeeper and coach. Since October 26, 2009, he has been the head coach of CSKA soccer club, and since August 7, 2015, the head coach of the Russian national team.
After suffering a compound fracture in his youth, Slutsky was no longer able to play soccer professionally and for 22 years, exactly half his life, he has coached professionally. Under his leadership, CSKA has won the national championship twice, and the Cup and the Super Cup of Russia, including a golden double: winning both the championship and the Cup in one season. Experts call Slutsky the best coach and instructor in Russia and just the kind of specialist the team needs now.
In taking on this ambitious challenge, Leonid Slutsky will coach for about 30 games as the head of the Russian national team and CSKA by the end of the year, including decisive matches for the national team to make it to the finals of the 2016 European championship and CSKA’s matches in the League of Champions. Those four months with the national team will be hard work for Slutsky. He will be paid only by CSKA, and the national team will compensate the club Slutsky’s salary for the time he will be on the team. The coach will receive a bonus if the national team reaches Euro 2016.
Ruben Vardanian is a Russian-Armenian entrepreneur and manager, who was director and controlling shareholder of the Troika Dialog investment company from 1992 to 2012 and one of the founders and first president of the Moscow Skolkovo School of Management. Along with his wife Veronika and their partners, Ruben founded a United World College for teens, UWC Dilijan College, in Dilijan, an hour's drive from Yerevan. The project received $150 million in investment (donor funds). The official opening of the college was in October 2014.In the spring of 2015, Vardanian, businessman philanthropist Noubar Afeyan and Carnegie Foundation president Vartan Gregorian launched 100 Lives. This global project is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which claimed the lives of nearly half a million people between 1915 and 1923. The 100 Lives website tells stories of salvation and humanitarian feats during the Genocide. For Ruben, it is a personal story. His grandfather Amayak was rescued by American missionaries who came to Armenia in 1915. Amayak was born in the city Archesh in the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, they killed his father and older brothers, and he and his mother and other relatives left for Armenia – on foot. Amayak’s mother and younger sister soon starved to death, but the grandfather made it to a shelter in Etchmiadzin, in today’s Armenia. His surname was Terterbalyan, but he did not know it and only gave the name of his grandfather: Vartan. Thus he became Vardanian. Amayak finished school in the shelter, taught there and later became a historian and professor at Yerevan State University. His son, Ruben’s father, was a well-known professor of architecture, his aunt was an expert on Shakespeare, Ruben himself a businessman, his sister a well known songwriter and composer.
Ruben Vardanian and his team toured all the major centers of the Armenian diaspora for several years, discussing the project. Preparations for the launch began in the summer of 2014. 100 Lives includes three areas:
- Preserving the past – digitization of archival materials, collecting and publishing the stories of the people who survived the genocide and their rescuers – Americans, Danes, Norwegians, Swiss, French, Russian, and many others.
- Establishment of the Aurora Prize annual international humanitarian award, which will be given to people who make efforts to save the lives in our time, those who risk their own lives to help others survive. The award is named in honor of Arshaluys Martikian, who, as a child, witnessed the atrocities committed during the genocide, including the murder of her father and brothers. She was rescued by the Russian army and later ended up in the United States, taking the name Aurora Mardiganian. Aurora dedicated her life to humanitarian assistance and played a huge role in making the Armenian genocide known to people. The prize will be awarded annually on April 24 in Yerevan, starting next year. Winners will receive an award of $100,000 and the right to disburse of a grant of $1 million to organizations that inspired their activities.
- Gratitude initiatives for organizations and communities that played an important role in the rescue of the Armenians a century ago. One of the first such initiatives is the allocation of 100 scholarships to study at UWC Dilijan College for children from countries where armed conflicts are underway – Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.