James Conohan guest-blogs at Greater Surbiton about the Crimean People's Republic, which existed from December 1917 to January 1918 and “was the first attempt in the Muslim world to establish a state that was both democratic and secular”:

This month marks the anniversary of the founding of the Crimean People’s Republic (CPR), one of the many ephemeral democracies that arose in the vacuum created by the Russian civil war, only to be destroyed by Bolshevik forces [...]. [...] An examination of the Crimean People’s Republic reveals that it was a successful experiment in one of the purest forms of democracy. [...] if Crimea had remained unmolested it would have become a thriving democracy decades ahead of many Western European countries. [...]