Cyrillic alphabet was developed with the Greek alphabet as its base with several additions. Two individuals Kiril (Кирил) and Mifodiy (Мифодий) are credited with its creation, but the script has had many changes since its inception. Cyrillic alphabet is sometimes known as azbuka, a word that comes from the original name of the first two letters: А (Аз - Az) and Б (Бука - Buka).
Since this script has originated in Russia, the spread of its use largely mirrored the spread of Russia's culture and influence. Today most countries that use this alphabet are those in CIS, slavic eastern europe countries, with some exceptions like Mongolia.
Contemporary Russian alphabet
Below is the complete Russian alphabet, consisting of 33 letters. Keep in mind that the way it appears will depend upon your local fonts.
А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю Я а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ъ ы ь э ю я
The use of Ё
Many people have been abandoning the use of the letter Ё, substituting it for Е in their writing. For a while the official government policy was to not use Ё in the government documents, but this policy is not obsolete, and this letter is slowly regaining its use. It is not, however, uncommon for some devices, like mobile phones, to make it more difficult to use the letter.
The letter Ы in OCR
The letter Ы presents a special challenge to those who attempt to digitise Cyrillic text, since this letter consists of two disconnected parts, to make the matter worse the left-most part of the letter is identical to a complete letter Ь, which requires that the digitising software performs some sort of look-ahead.