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Today the Russian alphabet or "azbuka" is composed of 33 letters, and it is known as "Cyrilic alphabet", named after Kyril, one of the creators of the azbuka. Letters are subdivided into 3 categories, there are vowels, consonants, and 2 "signs" which although are not pronounced alter the pronunciation of the letters around them (or sometimes used for grammatical purposes.
Azbuka was created by Kyril and Mefody (date?) with the Greek alphabet as the starting point. The reason for that is most likely the influence of the Orthodox Christianity. The Greek alphabet, however, has proven to be too small to represent the range of sounds of Russian language, and additional letters were added. (total number?)
Currently a wide range of transliteration techniques are used.