Blog: Miscavige's Potemkin Village - 2010-10-18
The phrase Potemkin village (or Potyomkin village) comes from a historical myth, now largely discredited. According to the story, Russian minister Grigory Potyomkin erected a bunch of false settlements in Crimea to fool Empress Catherine II during a state visit. The false fronts and hollow buildings were supposed to impress the monarch and her travel party with the "value" of these newly conquered territories.
Apparently, it never happened. Of course, we might say – how could anyone ever be fooled by such obvious chicanery?
Well, members of the Church of Scientology are taken in by similarly obvious fraud every day. In fact, there is an entire myth of "Scientology expansion" that has been built up out of nothing.