I agree wholeheartedly Bertie
that that's how it's been depicted. Although I am curious how a half-way government would be though...something between the Cardassians (who I think co-opted the Romulan identity) if only for variety's sake. But also reading all this, it would be more complex an identity than we've become used to in storytelling...why is everyone either a capitalist or a Nazi in modern storytelling? This in-between state is especially interesting when one considers that neither the commie Chinese or theocratic Iranians are simply as oppressed or oppressive as we or our media, or we due to our media, paint them as and both would do better to change their ways.
I dunno. Maybe the writers just need to create a uniquely Romulan fucked-up system of governance to explain how Toreth could be so public in here dissaproval of the dreaded Tal Shiar...and one that's worse than the Cardi Nazis because badder is juicier and might explain why Vice-Proconsul(!) M'Ret would go so far as to defect.