The Manuscript Reading Room holds a significant document related to the Strel'tsy Uprising of 1698. The strel'tsy were infantry units organized in the 16th century that formed Russia's first standing army. They represented a privileged class in Russian society, living in separate settlements and allowed to engage in trade. In 1695 several strel'tsy regiments were sent to participate in the Azov campaign against the Ottoman empire. On their journey back to Moscow, they were suddenly ordered to march to the city of Velikie Luki. Poorly provisioned and on the brink of starvation, the strel'tsy decided to defy their orders and return to Moscow to voice their complaints. This led to a confrontation between the strel'tsy and Peter the Great's other burgeoning military forces, resulting in the strel'tsy's defeat. Following the uprising, the strel'tsy were eventually disbanded, with many suffering torture and execution. Although the opinion of historians remains divided, Peter the Great believed the uprising to be an attempted coup d'état encouraged by his half-sister, Sophia.
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