Ever heard of a Potemkin village?

This week, I attend a meeting of a Board on which I serve and on this occasion we were addressed by a very senior civil servant. At one point, he used the term “a Potemkin village”.

I have never heard the term before. Once the civil servant had departed, I inquired of my colleagues and none of them was familiar with the term either.

As so often, Wikipedia comes to the rescue with this explanation.

So now I know that the term is a reference to “fake settlements purportedly erected at the direction of Russian minister Grigory Potemkin to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787”. Except that the subterfuge may never have happened. Fascinating ….


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