He purchased the allegiance of the stryeltsi, or musketeers, and then, summoning the boyars of the council, earnestly represented to them that Theodore, scarce able to live, was surely unable to reign, and urged the substitution of little Peter.
He reached Moscow on the 15th of May, prepared "to lay down his life for the tsar," and at once proceeded to the head of the Red Staircase to meet and argue with the assembled stryeltsi, who had been instigated to rebel by the anti-Petrine faction.
An ambitious, energetic sister of Ivan, well known in Russian history as Sophia Alexeyevna,instigated the stryeltsi(strelitz), as the troops Sophia of the unreformed standing army were called, to upset Alexey- the arrangement.
Having discovered that Peter, who had reached the age of seventeen, was thinking of taking the administration into his own hands, she conspired against him with the commander of the stryeltsi and some of his maternal relations; but she was circumvented by the rival faction and interned in a convent, and Peter's mother was put in her place.
His foreign tour, during which he visited Germany, Holland, England, France and Austria, lasted nearly a year and a half, and was suddenly interrupted, when on his way from Vienna to Venice to study the construction of war-galleys, by the alarming news that the turbulent stryeltsi of Moscow had mutinied anew with the intention of placing Sophia on the throne.
In less than two years from the time of disbanding the stryeltsi he contrived to create an army of 40,000 men.
On the 23rd of May, however, the Naruishkin faction was overthrown by the stryeltsi (musketeers), secretly worked upon by Ivan's half-sister Sophia, and Ivan was associated as tsar with Peter.