Sviyazhsky brings Levin back to their group. Levin knows so little about politics that when he asks who else he thinks will be in the election, he names Sviyazhsky and another man standing next to them, but both of these men have already been nominated and Sviyazhsky has lost. Oblonsky and Vronsky, on the contrary, love the election.
Levin blunders and puts his foot in his mouth during discussions of politics—his world is the natural one, not artificial human games. Oblonsky and Vronsky, in contrast, love the competitive thrill of elections, since they don’t feel things as deeply and can discuss human affairs coolly and calculatedly.
The men scatter. Koznyshev chastises Levin for being so rude and bumbling. Levin thinks that he should know about some subtlety in the election, but instead, he’s bored, and he gets dejected. Nevedovsky is elected the new provincial marshal.
All the other men are wrapped up in the political games and societal intrigue, but Levin is an outsider—he cannot even pretend to muster an interest in the nuances of the election, since he is deeply distrustful of this hypocritical world.