does "the COLLAPSE of the soviet union" have a negative or postive connotation? I am looking for a neutral expresion.

Thanks for your suggestions

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  • 3
    It depends on your perspective whether this was good or bad. – James McLeod Apr 6 '16 at 10:45
  • Did you look for alternatives in a thesaurus? – Mitch Apr 6 '16 at 12:21
  • "Collapse" generally implies "failure". – Hot Licks Apr 6 '16 at 12:27
  • Well, that's impossible. If you have a political entity, a complete whole, and it comes to an end, I cannot think of a neutral expression to refer to that. It breaks up, it comes apart, it separates into constituent parts, it divides up into parts, and so on. Isn't – Lambie Apr 6 '16 at 13:41
  • @Lambie - "Dissolve" would be about the least pejorative term for the breakup of a government. – Hot Licks Apr 7 '16 at 23:45

Formally, there's the dissolution, but that happened as a result of the collapse, yes?



The term collapse can be used in a neutral or positive way

The collapse of the building being demolished went exactly as planned.

However, when describing an institution (or a person), the term does seem to have a negative connotation.

(Of an institution or undertaking) fail suddenly and completely: in the face of such resolve his opposition finally collapsed

Oxford Dictionaries Online

Failure tends to be negative.

Perhaps the term devolution may suit

The transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration.

Oxford Dictionaries Online


To me "collapse" is similar in meaning to "failure" in this context, and therefore is negative. For a neutral expression i'd suggest "breakup" (as a noun, use "break up" for the verb).

Technically, also, i don't think that the Soviet Union itself collapsed. You could say that communism collapsed I think, as this is the social institution, whereas the Soviet Union was more of a geographical institution. I'm not sure about this though.

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