Anonymous asked: Okay, I've got two questions: Was Natasha raised in the Red Room or did they train her there after she accepted Bucky's miracle drug to save Ivan? And, did Ivan know what they were doing to her? Thanks for your time! :)
I cover this in more detail in my Secret Origins series, which has three parts: one, two, three. I also have a tag for origin stuff you might want to look through.
Basically, though, the “Natasha was raised an orphan the Red Room” idea comes from a series that decided everything we ever knew about Natasha’s history was wrong, and ran with it.
Anyway, after that story got published, it was really easy to be confused about her history, which is a big side effect of rewriting a character’s entire past. So Marvel published another miniseries, Black Widow: Deadly Origin, in part to clarify a new official version of her origin. In that series, she enters the Red Room in her twenties, as the price for saving Ivan. That is the “real” continuity as it currently stands! But stories can change.
As for Ivan— he knew enough that he didn’t want Natasha to enter the Red Room, even at the cost of her life, and I think it makes sense that they pursued him because he had some connection with Soviet intelligence. While Natasha was there, they were kept separate, but she still tried to confide in him. What he knows exactly is up to how the reader wants to shade it. But no one knows the everything of the Red Room.