(in Russian, udel’noe kniazhestvo or udel), a feudal possession in 12th-to 16th-century Rus’ that came into being with the fragmentation of the large principalities of the ancient Russian state. Subsequently, these appanages were in their turn broken down into smaller estates.
As a rule, new appanage principalities were created through land reallotment, seizure, or redistribution by members of the ruling princely dynasties—as in the case of lands obtained by grant or cities acquired by inheritance. The appanage principalities were nominally dependent on the grand princes who ruled over the old feudal centers; in reality, however, they were independent—having, for example, their own troops, currency, and judicial institutions. As Russia became a centralized state, the subdivision of large principalities into smaller ones gradually came to an end. The last appanage principality was that of Uglich, which belonged to the Tsarevich Dmitrii (son of Ivan IV Vasil’evich) and was abolished after his death in 1591.