1. refers to a nation that has a large land mass and/or looks imposing to the outside, but is full of nothing and/or is no true threat
2. refers to an organization and/or individual who appear to have large amounts of influence and/or power, but in acctuality have verry little if any at all.
1. Russa is an empire of dirt
2a. In the United States, the President has an empire of dirt.
2b. To most Americans, the Catholic Church is nothing but an empire of dirt.