emmatops asked: Hi! I was wondering if you know what Rooskaya means?
Rooskaya (русская) means Russian. It’s the feminine form of the adjective. When Yelena first confronts Natasha, she’s full of patriot identities:
My name is Yelena Belova. And I am a student from the Red Room in Moscow. You remember it, then? Yes, I thought you would. And yes, it is still active. You are its greatest legend, Natalia Romanova, even though you are no longer truly Russian.
Natasha calls Yelena rooskaya because Yelena says that Natasha is not.
Bixby: Wait…that’s it? You didn’t even tell me your name. Who are you?
Yelena: I’m the Black Widow.
Yelena Belova came into comics in 1999, after a decade of pouches and ediger, contemporary replacement heroes. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the miniseries which crashed Yelena to Natasha also returned her to the 1970 all-blacks and half-bouffant, after near to two decades of short, angular hairstyles. Yelena had her middriff bare, Yelena used rifles instead of gadgets, Yelena was very 1999. She was also post-Soviet, young and hungry. Natasha was getting older, getting old; that 1999 mini saw her pass a birthday unremarked and unremembered. It also gave her an archfoe, something she hadn’t had for a while.
Yelena Belova was all these hard worn comic book trope: the edgy nineties replacement, the dark mirror. But because she was the Black Widow, none of that was colored in binaries. Natasha didn’t want to defend her codename— she wanted to save Yelena from it. Yelena wasn’t only the villain— she was also the wronged.