Russia's first professional army, founded by Ivan the Terrible in the late 1500s. The name literally means "musketeers." For some time, it was useful for the tsar to have a standing army, which provided palace bodyguards and kept him from having to raise and train a new army each time one was needed. However, the members of the Streltsy (besides running stores and other businesses when no fighting was going on) became a political force; when Peter the Great was first named tsar as a child in 1682, the Streltsy rose up, stormed the Moscow Kremlin, killed many relatives of Peter's mother (who was his regent) and forced Peter's frail half-brother Ivan to be named co-tsar, and Ivan's full sister (Peter's half-sister) Sophia to be named as regent. In 1698, when Ivan had died and Peter was full grown, the Streltsy again revolted against Peter, and Peter had most the of the leaders of the rebellion executed and disbanded the Streltsy completely.

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