I'm Russian and have never met any other Russian who thought differently.
I had a Moscow guide for the Diamond Museum and other destinations that admired Gagarin, especially his cool bravery. But the guide said that Gagarin and the other pilot were both "very drunk" when they began the fatal flight. This drunk flight rumor may not be true of course. But...
Not only Russian pilots hit the bottle. The top scoring ace of all history, Erich Hartmann, was clouded up good by the sauce when he met Hitler the last time. While our American pilots pretty much follow the rules that they need 24 hours bottle to throttle, I've seen many an army pilot very but very drunk.
I just had a really interesting thought. You don't suppose that Yuri was thinking of defecting do you?
It would have been a propaganda nightmare for the Soviets in 1967/1968.