Tolstoy seated at Yasnaya Polyana by Top News U.S.A.
Leo Tolstoy is reported to have, in his youth, chased down an attractive peasant girl in the woods around Yasnaya Polyana, the ancestral estate, and had his way with her. This probably happened more than once. I may be misremembering this but I believe it was reported that the objects of his affection were not unappreciative of this forceful, bucolic, aristocratic; boys will be boys hooking up. He was, after all, a thoughtful Oligarch and he did kind of own these peasant ladies.
Tolstoy, the mature Oligarch, wasn't real happy with his behavior as a youthful Oligarch. Near the end of his life, his wife eventually came to resent him tremendously because he decided to give away all of his Oligarch money as a way to assuage and contextualize his birthright.
He created the character, Konstantin Levin, in his novel "Anna Karenina", I like to believe, in part, as an expression of his regret and guilt over the memory of his youthful Oligarchist sexual romps in the woods. Tolstoy didn't want to live as an unrepentant rapist. Also, as an estate owner with a significant amount of folks dependent on him for their survival; he was a realist. As was the character Levin in the novel. If I remember correctly, Levin didn't just want to make hollow, general acts of good will and social engineering he wanted to create concrete, earthy, actual programs that benefited the system that he was an integral part of.
The label "Oligarch" gets thrown around a lot lately -- almost entirely with negative connotations. As it should, I guess: " Oligarchy (from Greek á½Î»Î¹Î³Î±ÏÏÎ¯Î± (oligarkhÃa); from á½Î»Î¯Î³Î¿Ï (olÃgos), meaning "a few", and á¼ÏÏÏ (archo), meaning "to rule or to command")    is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next.[ citation needed ]Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public servitude to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich"" Wikipedia
However, hasn't that really been the true form of any government since folks started living together in structured societies? All we city dwelling humans have ever known are either benign or despotic Oligarchies, with varying shades in between. Maybe it's time we turn loose of incessant labeling and get down to successful living. To me this was the message of the character of Levin in Anna Karenina. He didn't want to change the system; he wanted to make it work.
Democrats are typically the guys that get accused of promoting social engeneering. They are also the folks that desperately don't want to be labled as "Oligarchs". However, there most definately are Democrat Oligarchs and Republicans have mired themselves down in attempting Conservative social engineering.
I think it's interesting that the Occupy Movement, at its core, is not about tearing down the sytem but about making it work. So, I guess you could say that the Occupy Movement is the movement most in solidarity with Levin and consequently, Leo Tolstoy.
The man, Tolstoy, is very nuanced, complicated and enigmatic -- the character Levin on the other hand is actually pretty simple. And as a metaphor for what an Oligarch should, in a successful world, act like, he is the archetype.