If we take a look at country designations, with depressing regularity the most repressive ones call themselves e.g.:
- Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- German Democratic Republic
- Democratic Kampuchea
If you look at the Human Development Index the last entries always begin officially with "Republic of". There are also exceptions: "Republic of Botswana" or "Federal Republic of Germany" have a good record while there are also autocratic kingdoms like Saudi Arabia in contrast to parliamentary ones (United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark).
Is this a relatively new phenomenon in the wake of ideologies which promised to build a better system after the demise of feudalism and the outgrowth of the Industrial Revolution, or are there precedents? In history we often do not learn the full designation of countries or state-like entities.