In the room for smoking and refreshments, the men are talking excitedly. Levin doesn’t want to join in, and he doesn’t want to talk to his own people, because Vronsky is with them. Levin sees a landowner of his acquaintance, whom he had met while visiting Sviyazhsky, and they discuss how obsolete and unimportant the elections seem to be. They also discuss how difficult farming is: they’re always scrambling just to try not to lose money.
Levin only feels comfortable in conversation when he can talk about faming and peasant life, as the affairs of the city are anathema to his character. Ironically, the same Sviyazhsky whom Levin found hypocritical earlier now becomes a lifeline, a point of contact from the countryside in the political quagmire.