Professor Viola is a specialist in 20th century Russian history, focusing on political and social history. Her research interests include women, peasants, political culture, and Stalinist terror.
She is the author of a some 30 articles; five books — The Best Sons of the Fatherland: Workers in the Vanguard of Soviet Collectivization (1987); Peasant Rebels Under Stalin: Collectivization and the Culture of Peasant Resistance (1996); The War Against the Peasantry, 1927-1930 (2005); and The Unknown Gulag: The Lost World of Stalin’s Special Settlements (2007); and Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial: Scenes from the Great Terror in Soviet Ukraine (2017); and the editor or co-editor of A Researcher’s Guide to Sources of Soviet Social History in the1930s (1990) (with Sheila Fitzpatrick); Russian Peasant Women (1992), (with Beatrice Farnsworth); Kollektivizatsiia i krest’ianskoe soprotivlenie na Ukraine: noaibr’ 1929-mart 1930 [Collectivization and Peasant Resistance in Ukraine, November 1929-March 1930] (1997) (with Valerii Vasil’ev); Riazanskaia derevnia v 1929-1930 gg.: khronika golovokhruzheniia [The Riazan Countryside in 1929-1930: A Chronicle of Dizziness] (1998) (with S. Zhuravlev, T. McDonald, and A. Mel’nik); Tragediia sovetskoi derevni 1927-37: dokumenty i materialy [The Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside, 1927-37: Documents and Materials] in 5 volumes (1999-2003) (with V.P. Danilov and R.T. Manning); Contending with Stalinism: Soviet Power and Popular Resistance in the 1930s (2002); and (with Marc Junge and Jeffrey Rossman) Ekho Bol’shovo terrora. Sbornik dokumentov [Echo of the Great Terror], 3 vols. (2017-2019).
She is continuing her research into the Great Terror and the NKVD in Soviet Ukraine. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Social Science Research Council, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Connaught, IREX, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Fund, and the Killam Fund. In 2014, she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada. She has received the, Canada Council for the Arts Thomas Henry Pentland Molson Prize (2018); the Killam Prize (2019), and the Royal Society of Canada’s Pierre Chauveau Medal (2019). Her most recent book won book prizes from the American Association of Ukrainian Studies, the Canadian Association of Slavists, and the American Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (Zelnik Prize).