Natalia Arsenieva's family is distantly related to Mikhail Lermontov's (famous Russian poet of the 19th century).
In 1922 she had to leave Vilnia and accompany her husband to Poland, the place of his military service. In 1940 Arsenieva, with her two sons, left Poland for Belarus but was shortly after arrested by the NKVD and deported to Kazakhstan. After the outbreak of the WWII, she moved to Minsk where she stayed until June 1944 when, with the approach of Soviet troops, the Kushals were evacuated to Western Germany. Later, in 1950, Arsenieva emigrated to the United States of America where she lived until her last days.