- Anna’s husband
- Strict Christian
- Upright government official who believes in what he’s doing and has patience for all the red tape
- Advocating for reform around native relations
- Has major spiritual awakening, forgives Anna at moment of the birth of her and Vronsky’s child (the grace of the 1)
- Promises, then revokes, to give Anna a divorce - complicated journey of christian principles, awakening & seeing essence of turn the other cheek beneath dogma, then strange, flat trust of Lidia Ivanovna and the weird boy who “channels divine messages” when he is “asleep”
Alexey Alexandrovitch came in, wearing a white tie and evening coat with two stars, as he had to go out directly after dinner. Every minute of Alexey Alexandrovitch’s life was portioned out and occupied. And to make time to get through all that lay before him every day, he adhered to the strictest punctuality. "Unhasting and unresting," was his motto. He came into the dining hall, greeted everyone, and hurriedly sat down, smiling to his wife.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina: Illustrated (The Evergreen Classics) (pp. 121-122). Kindle Edition.
"I imagine one cannot exonerate such a man from blame, though he is your brother," said Alexey Alexandrovitch severely. Anna smiled. She knew that he said that simply to show that family considerations could not prevent him from expressing his genuine opinion.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina: Illustrated (The Evergreen Classics) (p. 123). Kindle Edition.
The end was expected every minute. Vronsky had gone home, but in the morning he came to inquire, and Alexey Alexandrovitch meeting him in the hall, said: "Better stay, she might ask for you," and himself led him to his wife’s boudoir. Towards morning, there was a return again of excitement, rapid thought and talk, and again it ended in unconsciousness. On the third day it was the same thing, and the doctors said there was hope. That day Alexey Alexandrovitch went into the boudoir where Vronsky was sitting, and closing the door sat down opposite him. "Alexey Alexandrovitch," said Vronsky, feeling that a statement of the position was coming, "I can’t speak, I can’t understand. Spare me! However hard it is for you, believe me, it is more terrible for me." He would have risen; but Alexey Alexandrovitch took him by the hand and said: "I beg you to hear me out; it is necessary. I must explain my feelings, the feelings that have guided me and will guide me, so that you may not be in error regarding me. You know I had resolved on a divorce, and had even begun to take proceedings. I won’t conceal from you that in beginning this I was in uncertainty, I was in misery; I will confess that I was pursued by a desire to revenge myself on you and on her. When I got the telegram, I came here with the same feelings; I will say more, I longed for her death. But...." He paused, pondering whether to disclose or not to disclose his feeling to him. "But I saw her and forgave her. And the happiness of forgiveness has revealed to me my duty. I forgive completely. I would offer the other cheek, I would give my cloak if my coat be taken. I pray to God only not to take from me the bliss of forgiveness!" Tears stood in his eyes, and the luminous, serene look in them impressed Vronsky. "This is my position: you can trample me in the mud, make me the laughing-stock of the world, I will not abandon her, and I will never utter a word of reproach to you," Alexey Alexandrovitch went on. "My duty is clearly marked for me; I ought to be with her, and I will be. If she wishes to see you, I will let you know, but now I suppose it would be better for you to go away." He got up, and sobs cut short his words. Vronsky too was getting up, and in a stooping, not yet erect posture, looked up at him from under his brows. He did not understand Alexey Alexandrovitch’s feeling, but he felt that it was something higher and even unattainable for him with his view of life.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina: Illustrated (The Evergreen Classics) (pp. 420-421). Kindle Edition.
Stepan Arkadyevitch knew that when Karenin began to talk of what they were doing and thinking, the persons who would not accept his report and were the cause of everything wrong in Russia, that it was coming near the end. And so now he eagerly abandoned the principle of free-trade, and fully agreed. Alexey Alexandrovitch paused, thoughtfully turning over the pages of his manuscript. "Oh, by the way," said Stepan Arkadyevitch, "I wanted to ask you, some time when you see Pomorsky, to drop him a hint that I should be very glad to get that new appointment of secretary of the committee of the amalgamated agency of the southern railways and banking companies." Stepan Arkadyevitch was familiar by now with the title of the post he coveted, and he brought it out rapidly without mistake. Alexey Alexandrovitch questioned him as to the duties of this new committee, and pondered. He was considering whether the new committee would not be acting in some way contrary to the views he had been advocating. But as the influence of the new committee was of a very complex nature, and his views were of very wide application, he could not decide this straight off, and taking off his pince-nez, he said: "Of course, I can mention it to him; but what is your reason precisely for wishing to obtain the appointment?" "It’s a good salary, rising to nine thousand, and my means..." "Nine thousand!" repeated Alexey Alexandrovitch, and he frowned. The high figure of the salary made him reflect that on that side Stepan Arkadyevitch’s proposed position ran counter to the main tendency of his own projects of reform, which always leaned towards economy. "I consider, and I have embodied my views in a note on the subject, that in our day these immense salaries are evidence of the unsound economic assiette of our finances." "But what’s to be done?" said Stepan Arkadyevitch. "Suppose a bank director gets ten thousand—well, he’s worth it; or an engineer gets twenty thousand—after all, it’s a growing thing, you know!" "I assume that a salary is the price paid for a commodity, and it ought to conform with the law of supply and demand. If the salary is fixed without any regard for that law, as, for instance, when I see two engineers leaving college together, both equally well trained and efficient, and one getting forty thousand while the other is satisfied with two; or when I see lawyers and hussars, having no special qualifications, appointed directors of banking companies with immense salaries, I conclude that the salary is not fixed in accordance with the law of supply and demand, but simply through personal interest. And this is an abuse of great gravity in itself, and one that reacts injuriously on the government service.
Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina: Illustrated (The Evergreen Classics) (pp. 717-718). Kindle Edition.