Potemkin village

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Related to Potemkin villages: Potyomkin Village

Potemkin village

n.
Something that appears elaborate and impressive but in actual fact lacks substance: "the Potemkin village of this country's borrowed prosperity" (Lewis H. Lapham).

[After Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkinwho is said to have had elaborate fake villages constructed for Catherine the Great's tours of Ukraine and Crimea.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Potemkin village - something that seems impressive but in fact lacks substance
fake, sham, postiche - something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be
Translations
Potemkinsches Dorf
potemkindorp
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References in periodicals archive ?
In a sense, these "ghost cities" resemble the Russian empire's Potemkin villages, built to create an impressive illusion for the passing czarina; but China's ghost cities are real and were presumably meant to do more than flatter the country's leaders.
A supreme achievement nowadays is to glorify the government, the prime minister and his Potemkin villages, which is utterly conflicting with the very essence of the existence of media and journalism, civil liberties and human rights, the author concludes.
The New Economy also can be seen in "revitalized" downtowns across the country, where warehouses, factories, wharfs, freight yards, and working-class taverns have been replaced by Potemkin villages of lofts, light rail, subsidized sports stadiums, coffee shops, fusion restaurants, and other places that cater to workers in the New Economy--workers who are insulated from the economic harm caused by their environmentalism and statism.