ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Comedian and activist Patch Adams made famous by the Robin Williams film in 1998 is making his 32nd annual visit here with a delegation of fellow clowns to bring some cheer and laughter to those who have little to laugh about.
"I am here in Russia to love people. And I will love them even if they invade the U.S.," said Adams, 71, who's visiting Russia's hospitals, orphanages and homeless shelters.
He has made 154 trips to more than 80 countries, including five war zones from Afghanistan to Chechnya to Syria. He arrived here this week for his latest clown tour.
"When I first started coming here in 1985, I realized that when Russia used to say it was Communist. It was really totalitarian," he said. "I myself am an idealistic Communist."
Adams said he tried to reach Russian President Vladimir Putin before this trip but said he has not heard back from the Kremlin.
"I actually had an olive branch to give him from a peace organization in America. We tried. It didn't work. I haven't seen him yet anyway," Adams said. "But you know, I bring Americans over here and they love Russia and I don't remember the last time I heard hostile words in the U.S. for ordinary Russians."
The clown trips started during the Reagan administration. Since then, Adams said, corporations have taken over the world.
"How else could we have elected (Donald) Trump or Hillary Clinton? One was his own corporation and the other was many corporations," he added.
Adams said he does not believe in enemies and has no nationalist inclinations. "I decided a long time ago that I would be six qualities: Happy, funny, caring, cooperative, creative and thoughtful, he said. "I haven't had a bad day in 54 years, which makes me really dangerous."
The self-described "peace and justice activist" decried American voters' judgement on Election Day.
"This country that is supposed to be smart and educated just elected a (expletive) idiot," said Adams, who supported Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders and ended up voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. "I honestly thought that if Donald (Trump) was elected he was going to turnaround and say: 'Look, I didn't really want it, I just wanted to show you that money can buy a presidency.'"
"I am glad I won't live to see our extinction," he added. "I do not fight people ... I don't think enemies. I am a John Lennon man: No country, no possessions, no religions. Easy if you try."