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U.S. Ambassador to Russia Calls on Russians to Vote

File Photo of Ambassador John Byerle
file photo
MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) - U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle called on Russians to vote in the elections to the State Duma.

"As the American Ambassador to Russia, it is not my place to make official pronouncements on this subject. But as someone who has closely followed Russia's democratic development for over twenty years now, and as an American who has voted in every U.S. election since I turned eighteen in 1972, I certainly have my own opinion. Of course you should express your view! To do otherwise makes you an observer, rather than a participant, in determining the fate of your country," Beyrle said in his blog. "Even one of the most radical, revolutionary and anti-government American political figures, Abbie Hoffman, recognized this in the 1960s when he wrote "democracy is something that you 'do' - you participate. Without participation, democracy crumbles," Beyrle said.

Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) is a U.S. leftist activist and a co-founder of the Youth International Party ('Yippies'). He got his B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University and then earned a Master's Degree in psychology from University of California, Berkeley. His teachers included prominent psychologist Abraham Maslow and Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse, and among his friends were John Lennon and Timothy Leary.

He worked for some time at Worcester State Hospital as a psychologist. Hoffman is especially noted for his civic activities, including the March on the Pentagon, during which he vowed to levitate it by using his psychic energy. He died at 52 from swallowing 150 phenobarbital tablets along with strong alcohol, apparently suffering from severe depression.

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