Andrei starts living in Petersburg. He’s got old friends there, and everyone is totally into him because he’s kind of a novelty. By now everyone knows about his free-ish serfs, and all his improvements, so he seems like a man of the future, what with all the other reforms going around. He’s Mr. Popular, basically.
Through a friend, Andrei finally hooks up with Speransky. Speransky is a cold, super-logical man who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps from nothing to become the second-most-powerful man in all of Russia. So, at the very least, he's a pretty interesting fellow.
Andrei really likes him, more than he wants to even, and can’t help but agree with whatever Speransky says.
Speransky gives all his arguments for why exams and merit-based hiring is a good thing. Andrei is convinced that there is something special in the upbringing of the nobility that makes them qualified to lead, education or no education, but he can’t help but agree with Speransky anyway.