Saturday, October 08, 2005

Potemkin village: a nice architectural facade with nothing behind it

Potemkin village \puh-TEM(P)-kin\, noun:
An impressive facade or display that hides an undesirable fact or state; a false front.

When will the West have the guts to call Russia what it really is: a semi-totalitarian state with Potemkin village-style democratic institutions and a fascist-capitalist economy?
--"Western Investors Defend a Potemkin Village," Moscow Times, January 9, 2004

It's a lie, a huge Potemkin village designed to give North Korea the appearance of modernity.
--Kevin Sullivan, "Borderline Absurdity," Washington Post, January 11, 1998

Unless U.S. imperial overstretch is acknowledged and corrected, the United States may someday soon find that it has become a Potemkin village superpower -- with a facade of military strength concealing a core of economic weakness.
--Christopher Layne, "Why the Gulf War Was Not in the National Interest," The Atlantic, July 1991

A Potemkin village is so called after Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, who had elaborate fake villages built in order to impress Catherine the Great on her tours of the Ukraine and the Crimea in the 18th century.

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