Potemkin 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 periodicals archive ?
If we needed a Potemkin Village to show A Happy CRM Workers' Paradise, we took them to Southwest.
One way to understand the DPRK is as a grandiose and sprawling Potemkin village. Named after one of Catherine the Great's ministers, Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, the term refers to an idyllic construct designed to impress and deceive a visiting dignitary or dignitaries, thus hiding a reality that is far from idyllic.
It may seem to be a permanent Potemkin village, but it's so self-confident that it wins one over.
Once the organization raised enough corporate cash to be financially sound, it was rebranded as a "political movement." Potemkin Village "conventions" were held; the 1991 event, where lobbyist "delegates" from all fifty states voted on a premasticated "progressive agenda for the Democratic Party," was partially funded by the Republican CEO of Nestle.
This article includes the following sections: Taking Charge--Briefly; Whole Language Hoopla; Constructing School Failure; You Will be (Re)Educated; and Potemkin Village Reform.
The difference is that here, where it is largely bereft of religious significance, the Christmas season is like a holly-wreathed Potemkin village: all facade and nothing behind it, except for a peek preview of Valentine's Day.
The Potemkin village. When life is unpleasant, hide it.
Slowly, the reader begins to understand that all was not well in the idyllic Potemkin village of Lili's youth.
The assembly proposed by the White Paper will be a sham - a Potemkin village of regionalism in which a lot of self-important councillors, or AMs as they will no doubt call themselves, earnestly strut about for the benefit of visiting Eurocrats.
The time Putin spends abroad is the foreign policy equivalent of a Potemkin Village. They were a great power.
While the hierarchy continues to be manipulated, the people grow restless in the Potemkin village.
But reality kept poking through Robertson's Potemkin Village, and a look below the carefully constructed facade revealed an organization in considerable turmoil.
21 letter to the State Department, Shea wrote: "I fear that the delegation is touring a religious Potemkin Village, affording Beijing with a propaganda triumph, are making a weak and muddled case for American concern for freedom and, worst of all, are triggering further oppression against Chinese underground believers."
Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last fifty years, and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy, and spiritually degrading - the jive-plastic commuter tract home wastelands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the "gourmet mansardic" junk food joints, the Orwellian office "parks" featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sun glasses worn by chain gang guards, the particle board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandising marts, the whole destructive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call "growth."
Two hundred years later, cynical denizens of Atlanta's poorest communities might wonder if the Olympic stadium and the surrounding Olympic village amount to a modern Potemkin village.