The Russian alphabet, called Cyrillic, is "reported to have been invented" by St. Cyril in the 9th century. He assigned one letter to each different sound that he heard spoken -- no S for both s and sh, no C for both c and k, no OUGH for uff, ow, off, etc. At the turn of the 20th century there were 36 Cyrillic letters. In 1918 the Bolsheviks eilminated four letters entirely , and about 98 per cent of a fifth, leaving only 32 for current use. Of these 32, twelve look like our English letters, but are not necessarily pronounced the same.
Grieshaber, George J.
"Russian-English Word Squares,"
Word Ways: Vol. 10
, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol10/iss1/9