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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 periodicals archive ?
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.
Oleg Potemkin is an example of a sales associate who works to hone the special skills and competencies necessary to provide exceptional service in the Hawaii fine homes and luxury estates marketplace.
It's important to remember that Potemkin put up his villages to make an imperial achievement -- conquest of a vast swath of the Ottoman Empire -- seem even greater.
Rather than trace their well-known analyses, I would like to return to Eisenstein's quote from Immoral Memories and ask if we can find similar uses of iconography in Battleship Potemkin, the other film he specifically mentions as exhibiting his passion for Orthodox imagery and tradition.
They are joined by hundreds of others--Stanislas, Kosciusko, Lafayette, John Paul Jones, Prince Potemkin, Torn Paine--in this superb narrative that deals not only with politics and the creation of nations but also with religion and social concerns such as slavery, women's rights, freedom for peasants, and education.
A POTEMKIN ELECTION (The Washington Post, Washington)
Asi, ejemplares filmes vanguardistas como El acorazado Potemkin (Bronenosets Potemkin, 1925), de S.
Her greamess lay in the choice of Prince Potemkin and other such talented officials to run the State.
The famous Potemkin Stairs rise out of the harbour of this Black Sea port city and at 127 metres high they only marginally eclipse the size of the task facing the British number one.
Forty blocks up Madison, neighbours of the Whitney Museum successfully fought to save the skin of an unremarkable brownstone house with nothing behind it, preferring this Potemkin gesture to the elegant new entrance proposed by Piano as part of his recent remodelling scheme.
Speaking of Russia's faltering steps towards democracy, Olga Zimenkova, a professor of law from Moscow and the founder of a human rights education NGO, referred to the fake model villages erected by Grigori Potemkin to impress Catherine the Great.