Appanage Peasants

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Appanage Peasants


(in Russian, udel’nye krest’iane), the rural population consisting of feudal dependents of the Russian Empire from the late 18th to the mid-19th century who lived on appanages and belonged to the imperial family. In 1797, court peasants (dvortsovye krest’iane) became known as appanage peasants in accordance with the Statute on the Imperial Family.

Administrative control of appanage peasants was exercised by the Department of Appanages through its local offices. Appanage peasant settlements were grouped together into volosts (small rural districts). The peasants came together to elect the village elders (starosty) and rural policemen (sotskie and desiatskie). Payment of quitrent (obrok) was generally exacted. The appanage peasants had greater economic freedom than the peasants belonging to the landowning gentry and nobility (pomeshchich’i krest’iane). There were 463,000 male appanage peasants in 1797, 570,000 in 1812, and 838,000 in 1857.

On June 26, 1863, the basic provisions of the Peasant Reform of 1861 were extended by decree to appanage peasants, who were obliged to pay a redemption fee to acquire their allotted portion of appanage land. As a result of the 1863 reform, the appanage peasants’ land allotments decreased by 10.7 percent in 14 provinces, while in five northern provinces such allotments increased by 41.6 percent. As a whole, the former appanage peasants received more land than the pomeshchich’i krest’iane but less than the state peasants. In 1905, the average holding per household of former pomeshchich’i krest’iane measured 6.7 desiatinas (1 desiatina = 1.09 hectares); the average was 9.5 desiatinas in the case of former appanage peasants and 12.5 for former state peasants.


Bogatikova, G. I. “Reforma 26 iiunia 1863 g. v udel’noi derevne.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 63. Moscow, 1958.
Zaionchkovskii, P. A. Otmena krepostnogo prava v Rossii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Druzhinin, N. M. “Byvshie udel’nye krest’iane posle reformy 1863 g. (1863–1883 gg.).” In the collection istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 85. Moscow, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.