The Founder of VICE travels for 15 hours by train to finally arrive in Siberia and investigate logging camps that are using North Korean slave labor. Filmed in December 2011, it is shocking to see that this sort of thing still happens in Russia long after Communism has fallen. The documentary paints a stark picture of the relationship between Kim Jon Il and modern day Russia: their partnership has outlasted Communism in Russia. In part 1 of the documentary, we meet Russian alcoholics on a train on our way to Siberia.
Once arriving in Siberia, the next goal is to locate the labor camps. Kim Jon Il has set up labor camps in Russia to help fuel money back to the impoverished nation. To find the camps, our hosts make friends with the local mafia known as “The Fish.” Although these are labor camps with sub standard working conditions, the workers admit that life was harder in North Korea and that the country is impoverished. This is incredibly honest information from people who used to live in a country that controls all access with the media. When Siberia Labor Camps are viewed as an improvement, you know that things are bad back home.
They find out that many workers are being stationed in the camps for up to 10 years but the conversation halts when the managers or the logging camp arrive.
The FSB (Russian secret police), North Korean secret police and the local militia all decide to find out what the documentary crew has been up to – so the crew and cameras make a run for the border and to safety, hoping that their equipment will not be confiscated and their story will be told.