Tushin is Tolstoy’s invention to get us to see the Russians as humans, not just as cannon fodder. He is small, maybe even weak looking, but smart and curious, and quite unlike what we think of as military types. He stands out and he’s our calm anchor to the storm about to blow, we care about this unusual little man. Tolstoy even narrates saying “we” and “our” for the first time in the novel. Tushin is our captain.