Potemkin village


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day!

Potemkin village

Something that is made to seem very grand, elaborate, and/or prosperous for the purposes of impressing others, but which in reality has no real worth or substance. Taken from a story about Russian minister Grigory Potemkin (1739–1791), who allegedly erected false, painted façades to mimic a thriving, successful village along the Dnieper River in Crimea to impress the visiting Empress Catherine II. The tightly controlled totalitarian country is often accused of creating a Potemkin village each time it televises some event, a meager attempt to convince the outside world that its people are happy under the thumb of the dictatorship.
References in periodicals archive ?
But should these nonprofits accept the torch that organizations like Victory House, Charis, and GlenCastle hold out for them, they will be able to tackle the truly Olympian task of building not a Potemkin village but an Atlanta of flourishing, vibrant communities.
IT HAS BECOME A COMMONPLACE TO SAY THAT New York is no longer hospitable to artists, that Chelsea is a sort of Potemkin village fronting for a city whose economic realities make it increasingly difficult to keep a practice going, and whose Disneyfied ambiance provides diminishing incentive to try.
This pristine area would serve as sort of a Chamber of Commerce Potemkin Village, built with tax subsidies to increase property values - and the cost of goods and services - pricing most Eugene residents out of the market.
Although new Christian Coalition President Don Hodel and Executive Director Randy Tate tried to insist that the group is non-partisan and exists simply to "educate" voters, portions of the Potemkin Village CC leaders tried to erect kept collapsing, exposing the raw partisanship that lurked just beneath the surface.
The Potemkin village constructed to mask human rights violations of the past and present makes a mockery of the long and honored history of the Chinese people and their culture.
Elvira's Beauty Shop, 2001, is a Potemkin village of facades behind which there's nothing but the great void of Texas, signaled by the oppressively black space of the night sky.
They look like a Potemkin village of brick townhouse fronts, with large multistory office buildings towering above them.
The president is promoting a Potemkin Village,'' Siegel said.
The best example of the folly of quick-fix reform comes, not surprisingly, from Congress itself, which last year turned a window of opportunity into the Potemkin Village of campaign reform.
Even if the usage is like a Potemkin village, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he says.
Constituting a remarkable comment on, and successor to, a work like Robert Morris's Box with the Sound of Its Own Making, 1961, it figures as a fraud sculpture, as a sort of Potemkin village, but one that constantly fails to disguise the artist's sincere intention.
Even some of the nation's most beloved performers greeted the festival with boos, proclaiming it a Potemkin village that distracts attention from the deeper problems facing Russia's circuses.
But they kept quiet for the most part, giving rise to a kind of reverse Potemkin Village effect in which things seemed poorer than they actually were.
Bold, public emphasis on these themes can expose the politically correct edifice of ``choice'' as a Potemkin Village of myths and falsehoods, and prove Bob Dole a principled leader who will speak for the silent unborn.
Indeed, there are seemingly endless stretches of flat, empty space in Steinberg's pictures, in which buildings and figures are inscribed like Potemkin village facades.