Natalia Antonova 🇺🇸🇺🇦 Profile picture
Ukrainian-American. Investigations, OSINT, anti-Putinism, cats, food, and hope.
Neal Rauhauser Profile picture 1 subscribed
Oct 9, 2018 14 tweets 3 min read
Today in Uncomfortable Topics: Let's talk about cheating and abuse, because people often expect abuse survivors to act like impossibly saintly creatures from Victorian novels.

We're just people, however, and cheating to cope (or, more accurately, "cope") with abuse is a thing. Abuse is about control, and cheating can seem like a sensible solution when you're scrambling to get a semblance of control back. There is also the fact that abusers convince you you're "bad." My ex interrogated me about other men on a regular basis. Cheating began to make sense.
Sep 7, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Me, an expert: "We need a practical approach to preventing/reducing armed conflict. If you're screaming that we should dismantle the U.S. military & hope for the best - you're wrong. Putin, for example..."

You, a hater: "IT'S OK FOR PPL TO DIE AS LONG AS PUTIN/ASSAD KILL THEM." Me: "That doesn't make any damn sense. Unless, of course, your 'anti-imperialism' is highly selective. Or if you fundamentally believe that people with the 'wrong' nationalities/ideologies deserve to die in large numbers."

Sep 7, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
Social media, pop culture & the news cycle condition us to believe that abuse is an extraordinary phenomenon, as opposed to something depressingly mundane. And that abusers are scowling monsters as opposed to people. "But he seems normal" is what many people say about my abuser. Normality is woven into the very fabric of the experience. He makes coffee for you in the morning. You check the news. Discuss the latest crap that Putin has pulled. Make plans for dinner. Somewhere along the way, something cracks, and you're being screamed at, or worse.
Aug 28, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Remember those Russians murdered in CAR? One of them was my friend Sasha Rastorguev. Just saw excerpts from their conversations with their editor. Based on those - there is a good chance that planning was beyond atrocious. Threat to their lives seems to be almost... irrelevant. Sasha knew that CAR was going to be dangerous. He alerted his editor to this fact. Sasha also badly needed work - his wife and friends confirmed that (he and I haven't hung out in years). I would really fucking like it if the people who sent him there would explain themselves.
Aug 26, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Some shocking news for you all: We train people in the armed forces to be killers. And by “we” I mean the human race - considering the constant hysteria about the U.S. armed forces on my feed, it’s almost like some of you think other countries’ militaries... don’t exist? Humanity has many heroes. A bunch of those heroes are killers. “Thank you for killing those people over there, for whatever simple or complicated political/economic/historic reasons, and not me” = you’re a hero.
Aug 23, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
This is turning into quite the day! Just found out I may be the victim of identity theft. Of all the identities to steal... Seeing as identity theft is ubiquitous, when is the tyranny of our pointless credit bureaus going to end? I also really, really love how credit bureaus won’t deign to speak to you on the phone when you go to report potential fraud. “Here’s our pointless automated system... Now mail us a bunch of stuff. We’ll get back to you... eventually.” lol it’s literally designed to *aid* fraud.
Aug 10, 2018 10 tweets 2 min read
I come from a long line of killers on my mom's side - Cossacks, military men - and don't like the romanticizing of violent repressions, "Lenin wuz right," "Stalin was no big deal," etc. I believe this legacy is important to consider, because the world is headed for a crisis. One of my relatives presided over executions in Crimea. Before our family archive was stolen (another long and awful story), I read some of his letters, and his daughter's recollections of the man he was. I am not going to say it broke him. But he lived with the horror every day.
Aug 8, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
What an interesting (and, I believe, willful) misreading. I’ve written extensively on how to deal with white supremacists forging ties to the Kremlin/drawing clear foreign policy red lines/radical transparency as antidote to propaganda/leveraging Putin’s fear of China. Of course you may not get very far with an administration that takes Putin’s flattery seriously. Which is precisely why our problems with Putin as so thoroughly tied to the same domestic issues that made the Trump presidency possible to begin with.
Aug 8, 2018 16 tweets 3 min read
If you've ever needed help to permanently leave an abusive relationship, you have likely dealt with your share of shaming. Shaming is a key part of abuse and of the enabling of abuse. It exists on both the individual and the macro level. Victimhood itself is seen as shameful. "Look what you made me do" - we've all heard this phrase, or its many variations, if we lived with abuse. When you're trying to get out, or to stay out, others can and will join in on shaming you and putting pressure on you. And yes, women do it to other women.
Aug 3, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
The only thing more annoying than pushy people who are entitled to your time are pushy people who remain entitled to your time after you politely hint that they need to take that crap elsewhere. "Hi Natalia, a friend of a friend of a friend is looking for job opportunities in city X, you've never met him and haven't seen his work and he's basically some rando, but can you go ahead and take time off from writing about a murdered colleague to help him out immediately plz"
Jul 29, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
But if we don’t focus on our weaknesses, Putin will do it for us.

- Aging infrastructure
- Racism, xenophobia, misogyny
- Growing inequality
- The Forever War
- Lack of trust in many of our institutions
- Lobbying as legalized corruption

Are all things Putin seeks to exploit. Radical transparency and a solid long game as a way out of the current crisis in the halls of power are crucial at a time like this. One of Putin’s weaknesses is that he’s tactical. The Kremlin has no long game and domestic propaganda in Russia can cover that up for only so long.
Jul 29, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read
When I was being abused, other people’s writing on the subject helped me to eventually understand what was happening to me. It’s why I write so much about it now. Whenever I do, someone inevitably shows up to remind me that I chose the guy and hence should “share the blame.” In most cases, abuse ratchets up gradually and the abuser will mess with your head to make sure that you blame yourself. However, certain vulnerabilities can play a part as well. Having been hurt as a child and raped as an adult played a role for me. My abuser saw an easy mark.
Jul 26, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
It’s my birthday and I want to talk about how hard birthdays can be for a domestic abuse survivor. I came to dread birthdays while living with my ex. Attention focused on me was a threat to him. Fun was a threat to his control. He made me believe that this was my problem. He insisted that we go out, see my friends, etc. Even when I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate, I had to make plans. And then I’d watch those plans go up in spectacular flames. I knew it was all my fault. Why did I bother with having been born?
Jul 24, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
Hi guys! As some of you know, @ami_marisol has waged a bizarre campaign of defamation against me for some time. Now, she's used sockpuppets with some of her other targets. Here is an account created just yesterday. I call the troll "Ami" three times - they don't deny it. Hm. I'm bringing this to your attention, because I believe that it's a pattern for this individual. Others have had it worse. @MotherOfDoggons and @allyf95 have detailed their experiences. Many other people will not say anything publicly because Ami allegedly threatened their jobs.
Jul 16, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
Dear people still riding that #TrumpTrain while wearing your #MAGA hats: You are being played. Trump is never going to have any kind of "understanding" with Putin. Putin likes it when people capitulate to him, but he'll never *respect" that. In Putin's eyes, Trump is a traitor. Look, I don't like stupid caricatures of Russians, and I would very much like it if we had better relations with Russia - IF the Kremlin wasn't busy screwing us, attacking Ukraine, giving carte blanche to Assad, and otherwise acting like a bunch of dicks.
Jul 10, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
When he realized I intended to leave him, my abusive ex-husband tried to get me pregnant again. I had to have my IUD out for health reasons, and was constantly in the position of asking him - practically begging him - to please wear a condom. He was not above using force. Sounds ugly, huh? The kind of detail that people don't want to hear, huh? "Why would you share that about yourself," I'm often asked. Well, guess what. This is the daily reality for many, many women. The pro forced birth crowd (I refuse to call them "pro-life") needs to face it.
Jul 10, 2018 10 tweets 1 min read
My grandma, Tetyana Panteleyevna Antonova, also known as "Ba," is dead at 91. She was a very accomplished medical professional, a Nazi occupation survivor and a funny and brutally honest woman. Here are just some of her greatest hits: "Ba, why can't you knock?"
"Hah. Don't act as if you were in here with a lover when you're just playing computer games."
Jul 7, 2018 11 tweets 2 min read
Russia wages war against my native country. Russia wages an indirect war against my adopted homeland. A huge chunk of my family heritage is from Russia. My mother and my granddad the general are from Russia. My beautiful son was born in Russia. I love Russia - on my own terms. I first read the poetry of Pushkin and Lermontov when I was four years old. I was first introduced to Bunin, Dostoevsky, and Akhmatova when I was seven. Everywhere I've been, Russia has always been with me — beautiful and destructive in equal measure.
Jul 4, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
A bunch of my old Teatr.doc colleagues detained in downtown Moscow today. One woman allegedly hit in the stomach by police. So that's cool, I guess. Latest: Cops threatening to bring drug charges against the detained. Joking about it. Having fun. All according to Teatr.doc's Zarema Zaudinova, whom I know well.
Jul 4, 2018 6 tweets 3 min read
Happy #IndependenceDay! And thanks to everyone who already supports the @WaraxAndNatasha podcast!

I'm not saying that you're *definitely* a Russian spy if you don't support the podcast. I'm just saying that you *may* be one 🤷‍♀️… When @iAmTheWarax and I decided to create this podcast, it was a cold and moonless night. Star reflections roiled like fireflies in the black waters of the Potomac. Owls hooted. "The republic is in danger," said Warax, taking a long drag off a crayon.
Jun 30, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
Yesterday I was once again contacted by a friend who has gone full fundamentalist Christian and is passive-aggressively shaming me for leaving an abusive relationship. Her tactics were interesting. I want to tweet about them — because this is how women are shamed into going back. Plenty of religious fundamentalists would call a woman a whore and a bitch for leaving, but some are much cleverer than that. They don't challenge you directly. Instead they say stuff like, "You know, I've really been thinking about this one verse from a religious text..."