" And this is my friend Constantine Dmitrich Levin, an active member of the Zemstvo "
Portrait of Alexander II, the Tsar
Zemstvo refers to a county council. The councils were founded by Alexander II in 1864. The description of Levin that follows points closely to Tolstoy the man. Like Levin, he was strong, a cattle and horse breeder and a sportsman.
" No, I am no longer on the Zemstvo. I quarreled with the lot of them and dont go to the meeetings any longer. "
A zemstvo having dinner
Tolstoy was an anti conservatist. Its clear from most of his writings that he was anti establishment and wouldnt have supported the corrupt nature of the county councils of his day hence the disagreement. His views are linked closely with those of Levin and probably used Levin as a self portrait.
" Oblonsky slowly emptied his glass of Chablis "
The wine region of Chablis in France
Chablis is a french wine that was in favour with most of the Russian city dwellers like Oblonsky. Most urban Russians loved Europe and preferred European lifestyle to their own Russian lifestyle and often talked French and at times German.