As far back as 1994 there were reports of force North Korean labour in Russia. At that time the Independent reported "SEVERAL hundred North Koreans have escaped from gulag- style logging camps in Siberia. The mass break-out turns a spotlight on the shadowy camps where, Russian journalists say, North Koreans are kept as 'virtual slaves' to cut timber in a shameful deal that is profitable to Moscow and Pyongyang."
Watching the latest BBC footage from Russia Tuesday it seems little has changed.
The men were kept away from others while cameras and journalists were pushed away.
One private Russian builder admitted he simply turns a blind-eye to the plight of those involved in this forced labour.
How far Russia has come since its heady days of the revolution of workers or has it? Has it come full circle or always been an illusion?
As western sanctions against Russia continue to bite President Putin and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-Un may be thrown together.
"North Korea says it is facing its worst drought in a century and the United Nations has warned of the danger of mass starvation" and so it needs cash and plenty of it.
For both leaders this forced labour may be a perfect solution but not for the people.
Watch the BBC report: