"he could not stop short for the sake of one man's life"

 This is an important concept that was fiercely debated in Russian society. It is essentially an utilitarian, 'ends justifying the means' debate. Coincidentally, the first chapters of War and Peace appeared in the same 1865 edition of The Russian Messenger (Ruskii Vestnik) as the beginning of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, which also discusses this theme: whether immoral acts can be justified if they are committed for the greater good.

Pierre argues that Napoleon's unique position justifies his execution of the innocent Duke of Enghien, just as, in Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov believes that his murder of the old pawnbroker is justified as it will enable him to achieve his true potential.

This debate continued throughout the nineteenth century, as the radical intelligentsia began to suggest that a violent revolution involving the murder of innocent civilians would be justified by the great, egalitarian society that would be founded after the revolution. 

In 1909 a group of more moderate intellectuals led by Mikhail Gerzhenzon produced a remarkable book of essays, Vekhi (Landmarks) in which they argued that the logic of 'the ends justifying the means' was immoral. However, the book had little effect, and Stalin went on to use this justification for his reign of terror, quoting the French proverb "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs".