Soyuz 4 launched January 14, 1969
. On board was the cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov
on his first flight. The aim of the mission was to dock with Soyuz 5
transfer two crew members from that spacecraft and reenter. The last three Soyuz flights had attempted to do this but had all failed for various reasons
The two spacecraft docked on January 16, the first time two manned spacecraft had docked (Apollo 9 would do the same thing in March of the same year). Yevgeni Khrunov and Aleksei Yeliseyev aboard Soyuz 5 immediately began preparing for their EVA. Boris Volynov, who would remain on Soyuz 5 filmed them donning their Yastreb space suits.
On their 35th revolution of Earth they exited the spacecraft, on the second ever Soviet spacewalk. One of Khrunov's lines became tangled and he accidentally closed the tumbler of his suit ventilator. This distracted Yeliseyev who did not set up movie camera on the orbital module before exiting the spacecraft. This meant that there is no film of the historic EVA, only a poor video transmission.
One hour later they were greeted by Shatalov after the repressurisaton of the Soyuz 4 orbital module, which also acted as a airlock. Soyuz 4 and 5 separated after 4 hours and 35 minutes docked together. Soyuz 4 reentred and landed 100 km SW of Karaganda, now in Kazakhstan on January 17, 1969.
The mission proved it was possible to preform the activities that would be needed on a Soviet lunar landing. The Russian planned called for the sole cosmonaut who landed on the moon to spacewalk back from the landing craft to orbiting spacecraft after docking in lunar orbit. This was because there was no internal tunnel between them like with the American CSM and LM.
The crew were to meet Leonid Brezhnev during a lavish ceremony at the Kremlin, but this was ruined by an attempted assassination of Soviet leader. A man shot eight times at the motorcade but aimed at the car containing Georgi Beregovoi, Alexei Leonov, Andrian Nikolayev, and Valentina Tereshkova. They were unharmed but Brezhnev's car was forced to speed away past the waiting Soyuz 4/5 crews on the podium.