Word of the Day

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Potemkin village

\puh-TEM(P)-kin\ , noun;
1.
An impressive facade or display that hides an undesirable fact or state; a false front.
Quotes:
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
The "evil empire" had been a mighty facade at least since Kruschev, a termite-infested Potemkin village congenitally incapable of regeneration.
-- Frank Pellegrini, "Reagan At 90: Still A Repository For Our American Dreams", Time, February 6, 2001
Origin:
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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