This article deals only with manned spacecraft flight to the Moon preparations in the USSR. For the Moon research by Soviet automatic interplanetary stations see Luna program.
Details of the Soviet moonshot were kept intensely secret until the arrival of glasnost. The plan was hindered by the death of Sergei Korolev in 1966 and the success of Project Apollo in 1969. The whole project was scuppered in 1974.
Although the Soviet Leadership had made public pronouncements about landing a man on the moon and establishing a lunar base as early as 1961 there was no apparent active planning. Korolev promoted the Soyuz concept in which a two man craft would rendezvous with other blocks in Earth Orbit to assemble a lunar excursion. A competing mission was developed by Vladimir Chelomei to use a UR-500 rocket (it was later renamed to Proton rocket) to launch a cislunar orbiting flight. Chelomei's project had the lead until 1964 when a change of Soviet leadership swung behind Korolev. The problem was that Korolev's N1 as originally designed did not have enough power to send a manned landing mission. Korolev carried on for a year with the hope of improvising a solution but his death cancelled this out.
The success of Project Apollo in putting American astronauts on the Moon in 1969 was also a deathblow to it, and put the United States ahead in the Space race, although plans were drawn up until the early 1970s. Two N1 launches were attempted but both were failures and the second destroyed the launch complex.
Lunnaya Kabina, (Lunar Cabin) or LK was the name of the proposed Soviet lunar landing module. It was to carry only one cosmonaut, who after leaving the surface would go to the lunar orbiting spacecraft named LOK (Lunny Orbitalny Korabl). Several Cosmonaut groups were select for training but Alexei Leonov has the main claim to have been the man that would have been the first Soviet on the moon.
A replica of it now stands in Euro Disney.