Note. Every Russian has three names: first name, patronymic, last name. The root of the middle name is that of the father, plus a suffix meaning "son of" or "daughter of." Thus Anna's middle name is "Arkadyevna," while that of her brother is "Arkadyevitch." Russians call each other by the Christian name and patronymic, rarely by surname. For the sake of clarity, however, English translators use the characters' family names wherever possible.
Anna Arkadyevna Karenina High society heroine whose love affair keynotes the novel.
Alexey Alexandrovitch Karenin Anna's deceived husband. He is a frigid, lonely man with an influential government position in St. Petersburg.
Sergei Alexeyitch Karenin (Seriozha) Anna's son whom she is forced to leave for her lover's sake.
Count Alexey Kirillovitch Vronsky Anna's lover, an honorable, rich, handsome aide-de-camp with a promising army career which he gives up in order to live with Anna.
Konstantin Dmitrich Levin (Kostya) Autobiographical hero of novel.
Princess Katerina Alexandrovna Shtcherbatsky (Kitty) The eighteen year old debutante who becomes Levin's wife.
Prince Stepan Arkadyevitch Oblonsky (Stiva) Anna's brother who is a pleasure-loving socialite.
Princess Darya Alexandrovna Oblonsky (Dolly) Stiva's long-suffering wife and Kitty's older sister.
Nicolai Dmitrich Levin Levin's profligate brother who dies of tuberculosis.
Sergei Ivanitch Koznyshev Levin's elder half-brother who is a famous writer and intellectual.