Oblonsky essentially has no money at all, and he begins to search for a new government post with a higher salary. He goes to Petersburg to discuss the position with two ministers; while he’s there, he has promised Anna to get an answer from Karenin about the divorce. Oblonsky asks Karenin to put in a good word about him to the influential ministers; when Oblonsky mentions the salary, Karenin launches into a long-winded lecture, so Oblonsky hastily tries to change tactics and says that he’s the best man for the job because he’s honest. Karenin doesn’t seem interested in that, either. Oblonsky recalls having to wait for hours to discuss the position with one of the ministers, a Jew, which infuriated Oblonsky.
An odd moment in the waiting room reveals Oblonsky’s anti-Semitism, allowing Tolstoy to show a glimpse of Russian society and the larger political issues at stake during this time. Even though the novel concentrates on domestic affairs, and the central plots revolve around marriages and affairs, there is a much larger political and social landscape with extremely turbulent and controversial issues brewing all around the stories of these individuals.