Part 4, Chapter 6 Summary
Alexey Alexandrovitch won a brilliant victory at the last Commission of the 17th of August, but a subsequent event is devastating to him. The new investigation into the condition of the native tribes was quite thorough, covering political, administrative, economic, ethnographic, material, and religious aspects. The data were gathered officially, and the recommendation was in alignment with Alexey Alexandrovitch’s contention; however, Stremov (the man who lost this battle to Alexey Alexandrovitch) has resorted to devious and unexpected tactics.
Stremov and several other members of the committee suddenly transfer their allegiance to Alexey Alexandrovitch’s position, but now Stremov proposes even more extreme measures than those Alexey Alexandrovitch has proposed. The measures pass, but they are so outrageous and extreme that there is a governmental, public, and social indignation against them. Stremov blithely claims Alexey Alexandrovitch is the "father" of these reforms, claiming innocently only to have blindly followed his lead and expressing his astonishment and distress at the consequences. This all constitutes a defeat for Alexey Alexandrovitch; however, he is not deterred, despite his failing health and domestic woes.
There is a split in the commission. Half follow Stremov, claiming the report is worthless; half follow Alexey Alexandrovitch and believe such drastic measures as have been recommended are dangerous and should be repudiated. The consequence of this split is upheaval in the highest circles of society, a chaos of debate regarding the condition and future of the native tribes. This and his wife's infidelity make Alexey Alexandrovitch's position precarious; he responds with the surprising request to investigate the question in person. He has obtained permission and prepares to leave for these remote provinces shortly. Alexey Alexandrovitch's departure causes a great sensation, as does his return of the money allowed him for transportation on his journey.
On his way to the remote provinces, Alexey Alexandrovitch is stopped for three days in Moscow. As he is returning from his visit to the governor-general, he is hailed by his brother-in-law, Stepan Arkadyevitch, and his family....
(The entire section is 527 words.)