The NKVD put the deportees to work at daybreak. They are divided into twenty-five groups, fifteen people per group. Lina is set to work building a jurta, a hut, but not using any building supplies meant for the NKVD building. They collect sticks, stones, and chips of brick. They use moss for mortar. Jonas and the men are sent to fish, but they are not allowed to eat what they catch—only bread rations. Together they build a tiny hut to share. Ivanov, the cruel guard who called them pigs, laughs when they ask for a stove. The men build barracks and a bakery, with stoves and fireplaces, for the NKVD. Lina realizes that their hut is no place for people to survive—and that they are not expected to survive at all.
Despite the desperate conditions at the camp in Altai, the deportees now long for the shacks and relative sense of infrastructure. Here, they are entirely left to fend for themselves in the wild, exacerbated by the fact that they are worked to the bone building relatively luxurious accommodations for their torturers. When Lina has a passing thought as to how they are expected to survive in these conditions, she realizes they aren’t expected to survive at all—this is just a sadistic, drawn-out attempt to torture and murder Soviet dissidents and their families, essentially for sport.