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Potemkin village

Something that is made to seem very grand, elaborate, 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
| Clockwise, from above, Viridiana, A Clockwork Orange, Battleship Potemkin, Scum, A Clockwork Orange, Brass Eye and Queer As Folk
Odessa was the centre of the 1905 uprising led by sailors of the battleship Potemkin and, during occupation in the Second World War, sabotage groups hid in catacombs which are now a visitor attraction.
Potemkin was made in 1925 and is one of the greatest silent films ever.
There are items of furniture made by the Tula armourers, including the steel and gilt ceremonial chair made for Potemkin when he became president of the Military College in 1784, while examples of wonderfully conserved costumes allow us to imagine life at court.
Montefiore, the author of two books on Stalin and another on Prince Potemkin, has a fine eye for the telling detail, and also a powerful feel for a good story--so much so that his vastly enjoyable chronicle at times has a quasi-mythic aspect.
Compared to Powder, however, it looks like The Battleship Potemkin.
Paul Craig Roberts ("Potemkin America," March 2011) has done yeoman's work for a long time, fighting offshoring and the hollowing out of our economy.
Honolulu, HI, January 11, 2011 --(PR.com)-- Hawaii real estate agent, Oleg Potemkin with CENTURY 21 All Islands, recently completed a luxury home marketing training course offered by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.
The unattended baby carriage was first imagined for "The Battleship Potemkin" (1925/26), the second feature film of a 27-year-old Sergei Eisenstein.
Prince Grigory Potemkin put his name to the phenomenon when he put up the faE*ades of pretty villages along Catherine the Great's route through the newly conquered lands of Ukraine and Crimea in 1787.
Aleksandr Potemkin of the staff of the Russian Central Bank said the ruble and China's renminbi were already used for China-Russia trade--but only for about 2 percent of it.
Alexander Potemkin, an adviser to the Russian central bank chairman said that settlements in yuans and rubles already account for around 2 percent of Russia's trade with China.
Imagine a cross between a squalid Potemkin village and a planned retirement community in Florida.