Christie’s Offers Portraits from the Princess Paley Collection


An upcoming auction of Russian art will be offered at Christie’s (London) on 26th November 2018. The auction features two youthful ceremonial portraits of the future Emperor Alexander II, from the collection of Princess Olga Valerianovna Paley (1865-1929).

Princess Olga Paley, the morganatic second wife of the Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919), having endured the arrest and execution of both her husband and son Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley (1897-1918) by the Bolsheviks, escaped to Finland in 1920, and later settled in Paris.

She had long legal proceedings against the Soviet government who had actively been trading in artworks which belonged to her family, but had been nationalized by the government after the Revolution. These two portraits were part of the lawsuit, despite the fact that they were copies of the originals. She died in exile in Paris on 2 November 1929, at the age of 64.


Lot 22. After George Dawe, R.A.
Portrait of Tsesarevich Alexander Nikolaevich in the uniform of the Leib Guard Black Sea Cossack squadron
Estimate: GBP 50,000 – GBP 60,000 (USD 64,300 – USD 77,160)


By repute, Empress Maria Alexandrovna (1824-1880), Gatchina Palace, until 1880.
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919), Grand Duke Paul’s Palace, English embankment, St Petersburg.

Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Princess Olga Paley (1865-1929), The Paley Palace, Tsarskoe Selo, until 1919.

Pictures & Drawings formed by Her Highness Princess Paley removed from The Paley Palace, Tsarskoye selo; Christie’s, London, 21 June 1929, lot 21, sold as ‘George Dawe, R. A., Portrait of Alexander II, when a boy in military uniform standing in a landscape’.
Acquired by the present owner in Rueil-Malmaison, France circa 1965.


LOT 23. After Franz Krüger
Portrait of the Tsesarevitch Alexander Nikolaevich in the uniform of the Atamansky Cossack regiment of His Imperial Highness the Heir the Tsesarevitch
Estimate: GBP 40,000 – GBP 50,000 (USD 51,440 – USD 64,300)


Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919), Grand Duke Paul’s Palace, English embankment, St Petersburg.

Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Princess Olga Paley (1865-1929), The Paley Palace, Tsarskoe Selo, until 1919.

Pictures & Drawings formed by Her Highness Princess Paley removed from The Paley Palace, Tsarskoye selo; Christie’s, London, 21 June 1929, lot 33, sold as ‘F. Krüger, Portrait of Alexander II, in blue military uniform with silver epaulettes, holding his shako’.
Acquired by the present owner in Rueil-Malmaison, France circa 1965.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia / Christie’s (London). 14 November 2018

Blood-stained shirt of Emperor Alexander II Returned to Russia


The blood-stained shirt of Alexander II has been returned to Russia

Earlier this week, personal items belonging to Emperor Alexander II were handed over to Russian Ambassador Alexey Meshkov, during a solemn ceremony which took place in Paris as part of an evening carried out by the Franco-Russian Alliance.

Among the items is a shirt and vest with the remains of the emperor’s blood which he wore during the final hours of his life after his assassination on 13th March 1881. “These relics are part of our history, it is important to preserve them,” said Bishop Nestor of the Diocese of Korsun of the Russian Orthodox Church.

According to the head of the Franco-Russian Alliance Prince Alexander Trubetskoy, after the emperor’s assassination his widow Princess Ekaterina Dolgorukova (1847-1922) settled in Nice and carefully preserved the late tsar’s shirt and other belongings until her death. She bequeathed to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Nice a few personal things of the emperor. In addition to the shirt and vest there were three scarves with his initials, a portrait of the emperor and his uniform.


Princess Ekaterina Dolgorukova and Emperor Alexander II

After the Russian Revolution, the Russian Cultural Orthodox Association in Nice (Association Culturelle Orthodoxe Russe Nice – ACOR) seized the cathedral and all Imperial relics stored there. After a long legal process, the Russian side confirmed its property rights for the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Nice, but ACOR refused to give up the relics. However, with the help of the French government, Russia was able to return them. Alexander Trubetskoy called the return of the relics a historical moment.

The Russian embassy noted that our country has very good friends in France. Moreover, the French Cultural Ministry is very serious about the problems of the historical values protection.

Alexey Meshkov recalled that the work on the historical heritage return lasted for several years. He thanked once again the official authorities for the support and promised that in the shortest time the relics would take their place in the cathedral in Nice.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 November 2018


This Week in the News – The Romanovs and Imperial Russia


PHOTO: A recreated monument to Emperor Alexander II, was established on 8th November 2018 in the city of Gdov (Pskov region). It was originally made in 1911, however, it was demolished in 1919, by order of the new Soviet regime. The monument now stands near the Gdov Kremlin, opposite the Cathedral in Honour of the Icon of the Sovereign Mother of God.

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This Week in the News includes a link and brief summary to full-length articles published in the past week from English language media and internet sources.

This initiative is a courtesy to those who do not have a Facebook account, or for some reason cannot view the Royal Russia Facebook page – now, with more than 171,000 followers from around the world!

Royal Russia is pleased to offer our dedicated followers with the following 12 full-length articles, on a variety of topics covering the Romanov dynasty, their legacy, monarchy, and the history of Imperial and Holy Russia, for the week ending 10 November 2018:


PHOTO: Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (b. 1981), heir to the pretender to the Russian throne, in front of a portrait of his first cousin three times removed Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918), at the new exhibit Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, now open to the public through 28th April 2019

THIS WEEKS ARTICLES (Click on links below to review)

The Romanovs’ Relationship with the British Royal Family Is Explored in an Exhibit at Buckingham Palace

The Queen’s Gallery is hosting a new survey of artworks gifted between the two monarchies.

Vast Nicholas I portrait unveiled as Russians storm palace

Painting is one of 300 works at Buckingham Palace show exploring links to Romanovs

Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs review: Powerful family ties mean politics gets personal + PHOTOS

Relations between Britain and Russia are not entirely happy just now but it’s always useful to put these things into perspective. Which is where this exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery comes in.

Geneticists confirm curl from museum’s collection belongs to Tsarevich Alexey Romanov

Tsarevich Alexey’s curl will be exhibited at the “Nicholas II. Family and Throne” exhibition held from November 10 until April 15, 2019 at the Russian State Historical Museum in Moscow

Exhibition “Nicholas II. Family and Throne” opens at State Historical Museum in Moscow

For the first time the audience will see a large front portrait of Nicholas II painted by Lev Bakst in 1895, as well as rare photographs and memorabilia

Blood-stained shirt of assassinated Czar Alexander II returned to Russia

The blood-stained shirt of Czar Alexander II was brought to France after his death by his morganatic wife Princess Yurievskaya Catherine Dolgorukov


A chandelier and the fate of the Romanovs

Royal historian Elizabeth Jane Timms presents a history of the glass chandelier from the grand duchesses bedroom in the Ipatiev House, and is currently on display at the ‘The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution’ exhibition in London, England.

The Mystery of Faberge Eggs and Legacy of the Romanovs Today

Russian Art + Culture journalist Emily Couch had the opportunity to talk to author Sophie Law about her work, Russian history, and what the legacy of the Romanovs means today.

5 minutes with… A monumental imperial Russian vase

Why would this prodigious vase, made made in St Petersburg by Russia’s Imperial Porcelain Factory, be adorned with a portrait of Emperor Franz I of Austria? Specialist Margo Oganesian reveals how she got to the bottom of a mystery with Napoleonic roots

Russia’s most beautiful church: The Resurrection Cathedral at Borisoglebsk + PHOTOS

Architectural historian and photographer William Brumfield writes in RBTH, about this example of classic architecture which remained open throughout the Soviet era.

5 picturesque estates near Moscow where famous and wealthy Russians lived + PHOTOS

Here are Russia’s most beautiful country estates that once belonged to outstanding writers, composers and artists.

How did British subs protect Russia in the Baltic during the First World War?

A flotilla of British submarines teamed up with the Russian Navy to fight the Germans in the Baltic Sea region during World War I. Despite a series of victories, it ended tragically.

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PHOTO: Aerial view of the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. The palace is now scheduled to start receiving its first visitors after reconstruction in late 2019, in which a third of the palace will be opened as a museum.

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Disclaimer: the links published on this page are for information purposes only,
and may not reflect the opinions of Paul Gilbert and/or Royal Russia

Royal Russia No. 14 Summer 2018 Issue NOW AVAILABLE



I am pleased to offer the No. 14 Summer 2018 issue of our official magazine ROYAL RUSSIA. This issue features 5 full-length articles, all FIRST English translations by Russian historians, an article by Romanov historian Coryne Hall + news and 2 photo supplements. 143 pages, richly illustrated with 128 black & white photos.


The cover article features a comprehensive bio on the life of Prince Dimitri Romanovich (1926-2016) by Russian writer Ivan Matveyev.

Dimitri Romanovich Romanov was born on 17 May 1926 at the villa of his grandfather Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich (1864-1931) in Cap d’Antibes, France. He was the second son of Prince Roman Petrovich (1896-1978) and Princess Praskovia Dmitrievna (nee Countess Praskovia Sheremeteva, 1901-1980). His older brother was Prince Nicholas Romanovich (1922-2014). Through his paternal lineage, he was a great-great grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia (1796–1855) and his consort, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (nee Princess Charlotte of Prussia, 1798-1860) who founded the Nikolaevichi branch of the Russian Imperial Family.

In June 1992 Dimitri was one of seven Romanov princes who met in Paris where they decided to create the Romanov Fund for Russia with the task of carrying out charitable acts in post communist Russia.

Prince Dimitri was a member of the Romanov Family Association since 1979, the year of its creation, and served as a committee member. In July 1998, he joined other members of the Imperial family in St. Petersburg to attend the funeral of the last Russian emperor to reign, Nicholas II, and his family.

In September 2006 after a successful lobbying campaign of the Danish royal family and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, he arranged for the remains of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna to be moved from Denmark, where she died in exile, to Russia so she could be buried alongside her husband Emperor Alexander III. After attending the divine service for Maria Feodorovna at the Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark, Prince Dimitri accompanied her remains on the Danish naval ship that transferred them to Russia. After their arrival, Prince Dimitri with other descendants of the Imperial family attended the reburial service in Russia.

In 2014, Princes Dimitri and Nicholas Romanovich met with Russian officials to arrange for the transfer to Russia of the remains of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (Jr.), the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I, and supreme commander of all land and naval forces of the Russian Empire at the beginning of World War I. The reinterment of the remains of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (Jr.), and his wife Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicholayevna took place in April 2015 at Bratsk military cemetery in Moscow with the participation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.

On 6th October 2016, Prince Dimitri travelled to Moscow, where Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev presented him with the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky, a Russian state award, for his great contribution to the spread of the knowledge of Russia’s historical and cultural heritage.

On 8th October, the feast day of St. Sergius of Radonezh, following a liturgy in the Assumption Cathedral at the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, a meeting was held in the Patriarchal chambers of the monastery between Prince Dmitri Romanovich and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Prince Dimitri expressed his concerns over the Russian Orthodox Church and its position on the identification of the Ekaterinburg remains, and the progress of the forensic tests being conducted on the remains Emperor Nicholas II’s children, Tsesarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria.

Prince Dimitri Romanovich was a claimant to the headship of the Imperial House of Russia. At his death, the male line of the Nikolaevichi branch of the Romanov family died out.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 November, 2018

Monument to Four Faithful Subjects of Nicholas II to be Established in Ekaterinburg

A monument to four faithful subjects who followed Emperor Nicholas II and his family into exile in 1917, and later murdered by the Bolsheviks will be established on the grounds of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg.

Craftsmen from the Glyptica-Stone Company in St. Petersburg are currently working on a stone stele monument, which will depict life-sized images of the four loyal subjects of the Imperial family.

Adjutant General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev (1858-1918), Marshall of the Imperial Court Prince Vasiliy Aleksandrovich Dolgorukov (1868-1918), sailor Klimentiy Grigorievich Nagorny (1887-1918) and boatswain Ivan Dmitrievich Sednev (1881-1918). All of them were buried in the territory of the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent. 

– Now the place of their burial is unknown. All the graves at the convent cemetery were destroyed during the Soviet years. But for the sake of preserving historical memory, with the blessing of Metropolitan Kirill of Yekaterinburg and Verkhoturye, a stele will be installed on the territory of the monastery to these selfless noble people, said a spokesperson for the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent.


Adjutant General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev is one of four subjects depicted in the monument

The manufacture of the 4-meter monument, designed to perpetuate the memory of the martyrdom of the Royal Passion-bearers, was ordered by the Alexander Nevsky Novo-Tikhvin Convent in Ekaterinburg.

“It is a great honour that we received such an order, such an opportunity, ” said Mikhail Sergeyevich Parfentiev, general director of the Glyptica-Stone Company. – This is a piece of Russia’s history.

As Mikhail Sergeevich notes, this project is a great responsibility for all participants in the process.

Among the images of the subjects of Nicholas II, who voluntarily followed the sovereign into exile, first to Tobolsk, and then Ekaterinburg, the sculptors portray Adjutant-General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchevas- a man full of nobility and love for his neighbors, who loved the Gospel and knew it by heart.

The figure of Tatishchev, is depicted holding the gospel in his hands. He received this as a gift from his mother and carried it with him throughout his life. 

The monument of the four loyal Imperial subjects, will take place next year, on the territory of the Alexander Nevsky Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent. Thus, this monument will remind people for centuries of the martyrdom of the saints of the Royal Martyrs and their loyal subjects.

A Divine Liturgy was performed in Ekaterinburg on 10th June 2018 for General Ilya Leonidovich Tatishchev and Prince Vasili Alexandrovich Dolgorukov. Tatishchev and Dolgorukov were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in October 1981. Click HERE to read more.

A Divine Liturgy was performed in Ekaterinburg on 28th June 2018 for Ivan Dmitriyevich Sednev and Klimenty Grigorievich Nagorny.  Nagorny and Sednev were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) on 14 November 1981. Click HERE to read more.

They were listed among 52 confidants of the Imperial family, who were rehabilitated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation on 16 October 2009, as victims of political repression.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 9 November 2018

On This Day – the Premiere Issue of SOVEREIGN was Launched


Three years ago today, on 9th November 2015, the premiere issue of SOVEREIGN, a new journal dedicated to the life and reign of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia was launched.

There are few world leaders in history about whom opinion has been more divided than the last Emperor and Tsar of Russia. Vilified by Western historians and biographers, he remains one of the most documented, maligned and misunderstood monarchs in history.

It was the enduring negative assessment of Nicholas II which compelled me to launch SOVEREIGN in 2015. Published bi-annually, SOVEREIGN is dedicated to clearing the name of Russia’s much slandered tsar.

It is important to note that the articles published in SOVEREIGN are not a rehashing of what has already been written, there are no conspiracy theories, no hagiography, and no attempt to whitewash the life and reign of Russia’s last emperor.

Instead, SOVEREIGN gives voice to a new generation of post-Soviet historians. Each issue features first English translations of articles by Russian historians and experts, who have gained access to new documents from archival sources which have been discovered since the fall of the Soviet Union. At long last, they can interpret their own country’s history, putting to rest all the popular negative assessments rehashed by their Western counterparts, many of which are based on gossip and propaganda.

In the past 3 years, a total of 7 seven issues have been published, with 2 new issues – No. 8 and No. 9 – currently in production. In the past year, SOVEREIGN has now become more popular that our official magazine ROYAL RUSSIA. This is partially due to the fact that 2018 marks the centenary of Nicholas II’s death and martyrdom, publicity and advertising of this unique publication.

SOVEREIGN: THE LIFE AND REIGN OF EMPEROR NICHOLAS II is published twice a year – offering Spring and Autumn issues. All current and back issues are available from the Royal Russia Bookshop (We ship WORLDWIDE); Bookseller van Hoogstraten (Den Haag, Netherlands); Librairie Galignani (Paris, France); and Amazon (USA).

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 9 November 2018

Nicholas II Gifts Jasper Vase to Peace Palace in The Hague


Jasper vase gift of Emperor Nicholas II to the Peace Palace in 1908

In 1907, the countries represented at the Second Hague Peace Conference were invited to contribute to the construction or interior of the future Peace Palace. Many countries responded to this call and donated works of art or a national product to decorate the building. 

Monarchs and heads of state lavished the Peace Palace with gifts. In 1908, Emperor Nicholas II donated an impressive green jasper vase measuring over 11 feet in height, and weighing more than three tons and required the floors to be strengthened. The massive vase stands on a pedestal of gray-purple porphyry, decorated with gilded ornaments: lion masks and a two-headed eagle, and the Romanov coat of arms. The inscription in French on the pedestal reads: “Don de s. m. l’emperevr de Russie Nicolas II” – A gift from His Majesty Emperor Nicholas II of Russia.

Russian writer N. M. Mavrodina notes in her book Искусство русских камнерезов 18–19 вв (The Art of Russian Stone Cutters of the 18th – 19th Centuries), that the vase was made by masters of the Imperial Kolyvan Stone-Cutting Factory (now the I. I. Polzunov Stone-Cutting Plant in the village of Kolyvan, Kuryinsky District, Altai Territory). The cost of the vase was 24,289 rubles.

The vase stands today under the palace tower. In the next room is one of the last portraits to be painted of Nicholas II. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 8 November 2018


State Hermitage Displays Portrait of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna


Portrait of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna. Circa 1809–12. Artist: K. Novosiltsov
From the Collection of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

On 2 November 2018, as part of the Hermitage Days in Tver, the exhibition “From the collection of the State Hermitage. K. Novosiltov’s Portrait of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna” opens in the Tver Regional Art Gallery.

The exhibition is timed to mark the 230th anniversary of the birth of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna (1788–1819), the fourth daughter of Emperor Paul I. Between 1809 and 1813, she was the mistress of the Tver Imperial Palace, the building that now houses the Tver Regional Art Gallery. The Portrait of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna is going on public display for the first time.

The collection of the State Hermitage’s Department of the History of Russian Culture includes a portrait of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna showing her standing in a room by a window next to a marble bust of her illustrious grandmother, Empress Catherine II. With her left hand she is pointing to a panoramic view of the city. The artist depicted one of Tver’s main architectural ensembles: the imperial palace that stands on the bank of the Volga and a garden with a broad path running down to the river, as well as the Transfiguration Cathedral that is located on the central square. This is a view of the palace when it was in its heyday, the time when Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna was its mistress.

The portrait was painted by K. Novosiltov, whose signature has survived on the lower part of the painting. It has proved impossible to find any information about this artist. Most probably he was an amateur painter who lived in Tver.

The Portrait of Grand Duchess Yekaterina Pavlovna adds to the previously known iconography of the Grand Duchess and enlarges the range of visual records showing the appearance of the architectural ensemble of the Tver Imperial Palace and the Transfiguration Cathedral.

The exhibition curator is Natalia Yuryevna Bakhareva, senior researcher in the State Hermitage’s Department of the History of Russian Culture.

A booklet in Russian has been prepared for the exhibition with texts by the Hermitage researchers Natalia Bakhareva and Viacheslav Savelyev. 

© State Hermitage Museum. 7 November 2018

Ekaterinburg Convent Receives Dr. Eugene Botkin’s Pocket Watch


Sister Eustache holds the pocket watch which was presented to the convent by Igor Svalov (left)

A pocket watch has been presented to the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent in Ekaterinburg, which, according to  its current owner, belonged to the physician to the Imperial family Dr. Eugene Botkin (1865-1918). The doctor was shot along with Nicholas II, his family, and three other retainers on the night of July 16-17, 1918 in the Ipatiev House.

According to the press service of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, on Sunday, November 4, the last guardian of the watch, a resident of Revda, Igor Svalov, solemnly handed over the watch to the Alexander Nevsky Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent. Svalov noted, that the pocket watch had been kept in his family for many years. His father told him that the watch belonged to the doctor of the Imperial family, and in 1918, while he was imprisoned in the Ipatiev House, he gave it to one of the guards in exchange for food. Many years later, the former guard handed it over to a distant relative with the words: “Take this watch, it crushes me.” The relative then bequeathed the watch to his son – Igor Svalov.


Is this the pocket watch of the physician to the Imperial family Dr. Eugene Botkin?

Svalov decided to give the pocket watch to the Novo-Tikhvinsky Convent. It was the local nuns who helped the Imperial family in 1918, by bringing food to the Ipatiev house. 

The pocket watch and chain, includes an inscription, “Made by the firm of Georg Favre-Jacot, especially for Russia”. A study will be conducted shortly, to determine who exactly the watch belonged to.

“The watch has a number on the lid,” noted Sister Eustache. – These were produced from the 1870s to the 1910s. It was then, that the Swiss-owned company changed its name. Whether the watch belonged to Dr. Botkin himself, or perhaps a gift from one of his patients, we hope that it will be possible to obtain the name of the owner from the number. 

The pocket watch will eventually be exhibited in the convent museum, which is currently in the planning stage.


Icon of the holy righteous doctor and passion-bearer Eugene Botkin

Eugene Botkin served as the Court physician to Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and sometime treated the hemophiliac Tsesarevich Alexei, while in exile with the family. He remained loyal to the Imperial family to the end and was martyred with the on 17th July 1918.

The righteous doctor was canonized along with the Holy Royal Martyrs by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) in 1981, and glorified by the Moscow Patriarchate on 7th February 2016. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 November 2018

Sovereign No. 7 – SPECIAL Tsar’s Days 2018 Issue NOW IN STOCK!


The No. 7 issue of Sovereign: The Life and Reign of Emperor Nicholas II is now available from the Royal Russia Bookshop. Price $25.00 CAD + postage. We ship worldwide by Canada Post.


The first copies were recently made available at the International Nicholas II Conference on 27th October, in Colchester, England – selling out almost immediately!

This SPECIAL ISSUE is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the death and martyrdom of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. It features 143 pages, 7 articles, and richly illustrated with more than 150 photographs.

This issue includes a summary of my trip to Ekaterinburg for the Tsar’s Days events in July 2018, with a 30-page album containing 50 of my own photographs of the Divine Liturgy held on the night of 16/17 July, Ganina Yama, Porosenkov Log, exhibitions, churches, and much more!

Click HERE to for more details on the content of this issue, and to place your order.


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 5 November 2018