In stark contrast to a genuine democracy, a totalitarian government attempts to concentrate all power in a centralized state dominated by one political party. Totalitarianism does not permit a free and open civil society to exist.
In the now defunct Soviet Union, for example, the only civic groups were those formed and maintained by the dictatorial government. There were labor unions, but they were neither independent nor free of government control. There were mass media, but the government owned and managed them in order to prevent people from transmitting information contrary to the interests of the rulers.
By John Patrick, Understanding Democracy, A Hip Pocket Guide (Oxford University Press)