state that is supposedly independent but is in fact dependent upon an outside power
A puppet state is a country that is officially independent but is not so in practice. Puppet governments are usually kept in power by military force provided by an occupying country and are strongly controlled. Puppet states are generally not internationally recognized by most countries, except by the countries which control them and by a few other countries.
It is a biased term and is used in criticizing the government of the alleged puppet state.