village


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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.
See also: Potemkin, village

a Potemkin village

a sham or unreal thing.
Count Potemkin ( 1739–91 ), a favourite of Empress Catherine II of Russia, reputedly ordered a number of fake villages to be built for the empress's tour of the Crimea in 1787 .
See also: Potemkin, village
References in classic literature ?
A few minutes later he returned to the village gate, calling to the natives within.
When the gates had been once more secured the self-confidence of the savages returned, and as Tarzan walked up the village street toward the chief's hut he was surrounded by a host of curious men, women, and children.
Dozing in the shade he saw several men, while at the extreme outskirts of the clearing he occasionally caught glimpses of armed warriors apparently guarding the village against surprise from an attacking enemy.
Nowhere was there evidence of a man tilling the fields or performing any of the homely duties of the village.
The village of the Rikaras, Arickaras, or Ricarees, for the name is thus variously written, is between the 46th and 47th parallels of north latitude, and fourteen hundred and thirty miles above the mouth of the Missouri.
The great number of horses grazing around the village, and scattered over the neighboring hills and valleys, bespoke the equestrian habit of the Arickaras, who are admirable horsemen.
About two leagues beyond the summit of that hill above the village.
Then, the mender of roads having got his tools together and all things ready to go down into the village, roused him.
I forgot to say that Chrysostom, who is dead, was a great man for writing verses, so much so that he made carols for Christmas Eve, and plays for Corpus Christi, which the young men of our village acted, and all said they were excellent.
But meantime the village had got hold of Messua and her husband, who were undoubtedly the father and mother of this Devil-child, and had barricaded them in their own hut, and presently would torture them to make them confess they were witch and wizard, and then they would be burned to death.
The youngest of the elders, a man of about fifty, had been bred from infancy in a Shaker village, and was said never to have clasped a woman's hand in his own, and to have no conception of a closer tie than the cold fraternal one of the sect.
They rode through the village of Rykonty, past tethered French hussar horses, past sentinels and men who saluted their colonel and stared with curiosity at a Russian uniform, and came out at the other end of the village.
In the past he had had experience with the rodents and vermin that infest every native village, and, while he was not overscrupulous about such matters, he much preferred the fresh air of the swaying trees to the fetid atmosphere of a hut.
When the priest scolded him, Mowgli threatened to put him on the donkey too, and the priest told Messua's husband that Mowgli had better be set to work as soon as possible; and the village head-man told Mowgli that he would have to go out with the buffaloes next day, and herd them while they grazed.
The afternoon was almost spent when Korak arrived at the village of Kovudoo.