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Potemkin village

noun
1.
a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition.
Also, Potemkin Village.
Origin
1935-1940
1935-40; after Prince Potëmkin, who allegedly had villages of cardboard constructed for Catherine II's visit to the Ukraine and the Crimea in 1787
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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