Vladlens Kovaļevs is a managing partner of VA Government. Vladlens has been involved in assistance of multiple businesses in tech, telecommunication, financial, manufacturing, international and defense sectors. He specializes in government affairs and coalition management, as well as international and financial communications related to regulated transactions. Vladlens holds a BSc degree in Economics and Business from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and has completed Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at American University. Alongside tech, foreign affairs and modern European history, Vladlens is interested in active civic participation in the fields of non-governmental and public benefit organizations.
Ralfs Vīlands is a strategic partner of VA Government. Ralfs has represented clients from energy, pharmaceutical, automotive, telecommunications, tobacco, retail and FMCG industries. In his portfolio are such clients as Uber, BP, airBaltic, Swedbank, Kuwait Energy, Food Union, Pretkorupciju.lv, Maxima and others. He focuses on political communications and issues management. Ralfs is interested in geopolitcs, quality literature and cinematography.
Elīza Lazdāne joined VA Government in 2017. On daily basis Elīza works with clients from technology, transport, finance and FMCG industries. She has gained her previous experience in various fields – including the Assurance Department at Ernst & Young Baltic and Public Affairs Department of the U.S. Embassy in Riga. She has graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business and gained additional experience during her exchange in Barcelona, studying in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Elīza has been actively involved in the field of non-governmental organizations, including being a part of the organisers and media team in The Second World Latvian Economics and Innovation Forum. Elīza’s hobbies include improvisation theatre, music and traveling.
As of 2017 VA Government is an affiliate member of Interel Group. Interel Group is a global public affairs and government relations firm helping clients to manage political risk and capitalise on political opportunity. The Group covers more than 60 markets with three global hubs in Washington D.C., Brussels and Beijing. Over 1000 consultants provide political risk and opportunity analysis, and strategic engagement solutions. Interel Group delivers local and regional advice or one-stop-shop access to global support.
Having a broad network of contacts on a national level allows us to reach key decision makers in the parliament, ministries and regulatory agencies. Major policy and nuanced legislative changes start from a political will that is continued with in depth policy discussions with key staffers and career public servants.
Local authorities and localities play an important role in the Latvian political environment. It often affects not only regional, but also national matters. Proper dialogue by acknowledging the specifics of an individual municipality allows us to boost our clients' agenda on regional and national level.
legislative agenda, grassroots advocacy is a vital tool. Public support and opinion are essential to reach major policy goals aimed at society-wide changes in legislation or regulation.
Even an ideal legislative proposal cannot be passed without support of multiple stakeholder groups. Our rich network of contacts provides our clients with an opportunity to create support for their initiatives and regulatory proposals. Effective stakeholder mapping and their effective engagement boost the legislative agenda of our clients.
Also in times of stability and prosperity there is a need to prepare for a crisis. Maintenance of the status quo or active changes of regulatory environment requires issue monitoring and consecutive management. Assessment of upcoming risks and challenges from regulators, policy makers and the executive branch allows us to protect business interests of our clients.
Policy is often driven by politics. A deep insight into the existing political environment, gives us the ability to measure and predict actions of political circles, affecting businesses and other stakeholders. Political intelligence is critical in times of substantial change, pre- and post- elections, as well as in daily operations to stay one step ahead of competitors.
From the traditional banking industry to the tech driven fintech, financial services is a striving field with substantial regulatory challenges. Compliance with anti-money laundering regulation, local fintech legislative framework targeting peer-to-peer lending platforms and the EU PSD2 directive – are all issues to be addressed by regulators and businesses.
Multinational startups like Airbnb and Uber work together with local champions to change the way we consume goods and services. This creates challenges to legislators and regulators to adopt innovative economic models and protect the best interests of consumers. This rises questions of general regulation, fair taxation and customer data protection. We serve as educators, who bridge the gaps between policy makers and innovative businesses.
Rapid technological advancement creates a demand for previously non-existent regulation. Policymakers need to acknowledge and address issues such as the use of artificial intelligence in business analytics, autonomous vehicles and robotized delivery services on the roads of our cities. Accumulation of corporate resources to join the 5G and IoT race creates challenges for authorities to evaluate each case and provide general industry-wide guidelines.
Health policy poses as a substantial issue for national legislators as it is crucial facet for the society. They have to address multidimensional and complex situations from the issues of vertical integration within the pharmaceutical industry to matters of mandatory health insurance. We help regulators to understand and see a broader picture, taking into account the best interests of patients and businesses.
Fast-moving consumer goods make a large portion of our everyday lives. The use of GMOs and stimulants in food and beverages are a focus of nutrition experts and general society. This often creates unnecessary buzz and controversial opinions. In consequence, regulators are left with ambiguous views and the the matter to constant debate. Our experience in the FMCG industry gives us an opportunity to help clients to reach their targeted objectives, by helping regulators lift their uncertainties surrounding FMCG.
Issues of renewable energy, its production and daily use in different sectors of the economy will exponentially grow in importance, by a demand in cleaner energy. From taxation of electric vehicles to subsidies for renewable energy producers – these are key fields with a need for continuous improvement and up to date regulation.
The tobacco industry is one of the most heavily regulated sectors. which constantly causes old and new challenges for regulatory bodies. Issues of tobacco products' taxation and their economic and social effects, the amount of nicotine in tobacco products and a smoke-free future thrust decision makers in a continuous debate over the freedoms of personal consumption and public health.
Over centuries wine and spirits were a part of society's life, however, due to their natural features they are faced with strict rules and conditions. With an emphasis on healthy lifestyle, the wine and spirits industry has to address issues of responsible advertising, fair taxation and take care of public health. This creates an opportunity for regulatory bodies to foster the industry and its economic potential, while protecting society from the negative aspects of excess consumption.