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I know that dictators often wear uniforms to appear intimidating.

Why did Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev wear military uniforms when Lenin and the later Soviet leaders did not?

Weren't Lenin and the other Soviet leaders dictators?

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I think these are very unusual photos (especially with Khrushchev). They usually did not wear the military uniform (although had the right to do so as war veterans). –  Anixx Apr 18 '12 at 11:41
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The son of Nikita Khrushchev tells in his memoirs lib.rtg.su/memor/35/84.html that until 1958 Khrushchev had only WWII front-line uniform. In 1958 for the 40-years jubilee of the Soviet Army he sewed a new uniform for the occasion, in which he did several photos, one of which I suppose is shown above. –  Anixx Apr 18 '12 at 11:58
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Weren't Lenin and the other Soviet leaders dictators?

Whether or not they were dictators is a separate question and one that does not necessarily relate to what they should or would wear.

Why did Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev wear military uniforms when Lenin and the later Soviet leaders did not?

All three had specific reasons for appearing in military uniforms if and when they did (keep in mind that they did not regularly or always wear them). Stalin utilized the victory in the Great Patriotic War to establish his demi-God status throughout the Soviet Union and portray his actions in the 1930s as necessary for the war's outcome. He used the war as a tool and himself, or rather the idea of 'Stalin', as the ultimate genius behind the victory over Nazi Germany.

Khrushchev allied himself with the likes of Zhukov when he was attempting to take over after Stalin. It was under Khrushchev that the first military memoirs about the war were published (Stalin refused to allow much to be written about the war for fear of anyone asking the wrong questions). Khrushchev was a commissar but never really held any position of importance.

Finally, Brezhnev jumped on the 'War Cult' bandwagon because he tried to use the war to excuse previous failures and attempted to utilize the deeds of that generation to inspire the current and future generation(s) by having veterans visit schools to talk with students, by making May 9 a national holiday (it took 20 years for that to happen), etc. He was also a commissar during the war, lower ranking than Khrushchev, and his claim to fame was 'Malaia Zemlia'. This was an operation in the latter part of the war where a diversionary operation was so successful that the main operation was called off and all the forces earmarked for the main offensive were instead switched over to Malaia Zemlia (it was an attempt to liberate Novorossiisk in 1943). Brezhnev never played an important role, but if you look at the literature from the time period, he was apparently pretty damn important. And in that picture, you can see that he was only one of 4 people in the entire Soviet Union to receive the coveted 'Hero of the Soviet Union' Gold Star three times (the other three were Zhukov and two of the highest scoring aces in the Soviet Air Force).

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Stalin Khruschev and Brezhnev all participated in the "Great Patriotic War" (otherwise known as World War II). That's why they wore military uniforms, even afterwards.

The other Soviet leaders did not (at least not in their role as party leaders). Lenin was PRE World War II, the others were POST World War II.

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I think your information is incorrect. I think Khrushchev very rarely wore military uniform when he became a leader.

The son of Nikita Khrushchev tells in his memoirs http://lib.rtg.su/memor/35/84.html that until 1958 Khrushchev had only WWII front-line uniform. In 1958 for the 40-years jubilee of the Soviet Army he sewed a new uniform for the occasion, in which he did several photos, one of which I suppose is shown in the question.

Similarly Brezhnev usually appeared and was portrayed in civil suit.

Among Soviet leaders only Stalin somehow preferred a military-like costume, and never wore a necktie. This can be traced to the times when he was still far from supreme power, like in this image from 1919:

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Being a "dictator" is about how power is concentrated and exercised. There's no required uniform. :-)

One could argue that Soviet leaders after Stalin were not in fact dictators, as they were ultimately answerable to the Central Comittee (and occasionally removed by it).

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