Ardalion Ivanovich Mayakov was born in Tver, Russia, in 1872. He is an anarchist bookseller and owner of the bookstore, "Ardalion Books and Gifts," which is located right across from Harvey's Feingold's deli.
A womanizing, self-declared "agent provocateur" who enjoys riling people up and challenging social norms, Ardalion is a nihilist of the highest order. He dislikes the traditional order and just as in Russia, he seeks to challenge the "traditional" hierarchies of class, race, gender, religion, etc. that he sees in America.
He takes a special interest in bored, disaffected middle-aged women who are dissatisfied with their lives, such as Raisa.
Ardalion knows Lev since they are both part of the Bowery Labour Union. He feels that Lev is not daring enough and that he's too afraid of chaos to really be able to push for the changes that he claims to want to see in society.
He immigrated to America after the failed 1905 Russian Revolution. This Revolution reached a bloody climax in November and December 1905 with the bombing of the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw and the Cafe Libman in Odessa. As Anarchist centres began to be raided by the Tsarist police, some fled to Western Europe and America.
Ardalion first fled to London in 1906, where he stayed for two years, before settling on the Lower East Side in New York City in 1908.
Ardalion loves his son deeply. Unlike Lev, he lets Mitya do whatever he wants and encourages him to become independent.
Ardalion likes to flirt with Raisa (much to Lev's consternation), since she fits into the kind of woman he is "drawn" to: married, dissatisfied with her life, and full of regrets. They enjoy discussing news about Russia and reminiscing about their youth in Russia.
Ardalion does not like Lev, finding him stiff-necked, too traditional, and too much of a goody-two-shoes. He thinks that Lev is too "traditional" and that he's only saying he's a Leftist to feel superior to others.
● Ardalion's wife, Kseniya, is not close with him, and is in fact, separated from him. She lives in London.
● Ardalion and his son, Mitya, get along very well, and Mitya believes that Ardalion is the best father one could possibly have.
● Like Lev, Ardalion does not believe in assimilating into American culture, although he (like Lev) speaks excellent English. He does what he wants and hates the idea of conforming to what society expects of him as an immigrant (he prefers "emigre").
● Ardalion thinks Lev is ridiculous for encouraging Sam to be a lawyer. He doesn't believe in "tiger parenting" and thinks that Lev's parenting methods are toxic and will only drive Sam further away from him. He also dislikes (though he doesn't say it out loud since it's technically none of his business) how the Abramovs coddle Sam and how, even though he is no longer a child, they pamper him, cook all his meals for him, do all his chores for him, etc.