Australia is not a republic. Canada is not a republic. France is a republic.
A republic is a country that does not have a monarch as a head of state. It has no bearing on how free, or democratic, or representative a country is.
The United States is an (arguably weak) representative democracy, that happens to be a republic.
Realizing that the peasantry needed to be kept away from power was not some enlightened revelation. It's the divine right of kings by another name.
"A number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community" is a picture-perfect description of the American political landscape, despite all the hubbub about states rights, direct democracy, and how your representatives know best.
Who exactly nominated and elected Kim Jong-Un? "Eternal President of the Republic" doesn't sound much like a representative of the people to me. It sounds like an emperor who's dishonest about his role.
As in all communist states, Kim Jong-Un was nominated and elected by representatives of the Worker's Party of Korea. Even by Soviet politburo standards, that wasn't a fair election, but formally, the power of the Party Secretary/Grand Poobah/Whatever, is derived from the party.
Unlike most communist states, though, his position is de-facto hereditary. Either way, a strong argument could be made that while the DPRK is a monarchy, the USSR clearly was not one.
> A republic doesn't just mean no monarch.
Yes it does.
> A republic is different from a pure democracy because it explicitly protects the rights of minorities through a constitution.
Not true; a constitutional system does that, but that has nothing to do with being a republic. Many republics have no such protections. You're conflating a constitutional government with a republic. Republic means nothing more than no monarchy. There are lots of republics in the world, they don't all protect minorities through a constitution or even have a constitution because that's not what the word republic means.
A republic is a society in which the interests of the people are represented by elected or appointed officials who do not inherit their positions.
Madison really liked the term as a way of distinguishing Roman democracy from Athenian, but there's no hard definition, or in practice there hasn't been.
Ancient Rome, the UK, Venice, North Korea, the US are all "republics".
The ideology came from not founding a single country but from negotiating the formation of a federal government around multiple independent states with varying populations. This negotiation forced people to think well beyond simply "majority rules".