Timo also views his fellow loggers as men first. They are clearly unfit for the role assigned to them by the Russian authorities and Timo takes it on himself to teach them how to survive in the harsh Finnish winter. The cold is a major element of the novel - what it is like and how to survive it. There is a lot of going to bed, sleeping, eating and cleaning in the story. When the Russians began their offensive many of the troops came from the Crimea and were unused to such harsh conditions. The Soviet army was ill equip both in terms of heavy mechanisation which confined them to roads and with regard to winter camouflage clothing for the troops. Timo teaches the loggers the importance of taking care of yourself in the cold, in such cold humans become careless and when they are careless it is easy to freeze to death. But the Russian loggers also save Timo from being an outsider, he becomes part of a group and finds strength in himself
There is therefore a moral ambiguity about the book which is intriguing, is Timo right or wrong, is he a hero or a coward? Timo himself believes he is neither all he wanted to do is survive and faced for the first time with others who had none of the skills of survival he had, who looked up to him and admired him, he drew strength from the Russian's weakness and became more than he had ever been before.