There are as many as 12 million migrant laborers in Russia. Only 2 million work in the country legally.
Bek Takhirov, a 38-year-old ethnic Uzbek, knows all too well the problems that migrant workers face. In 2004, he came to Russia and worked illegally, stacking cargo in a warehouse for alcoholic beverages. Takhirov completed a lengthy application for Russian citizenship in order to step out of the shadows, two years ago. He now works legally in St. Petersburg as a translator by day and moonlights as a security guard by night.