In the 17th century, the amount of ruble depended on what it is composed of. A ruble plated with gold or platinum has a higher value than a usual ruble coin which is made of 28 grams of silver. As years went by, the amount of silver and the amount of gold that was be put in coins was standardized by the Government so that it will have an exact value for denomination purposes.
Russian ruble is equivalent to 100 kopek or 100 Russian coins. Russian coins since 1724 are minted in Moscow and at the Saint Petersburg Mint while paper money is printed in Goznak in Moscow since 1919 up to the present. There are several paper bills or denominations of this monetary unit starting from 10 Russian Ruble up to 5000 paper bill. So just imagine how many Russian coins you have to count when you have a 5000 RB paper bill.
There is no specific symbol for this currency; however there are two candidates that are being proposed by the Central Bank. The first one is the P sign with a stroke below the top which looks like the symbol used for Philippine Peso. The second one is the proposed symbol from a competition by Russian News and Information Agency called the Swanling Symbol.
As of February 2011, a US dollar which is the usual currency used for international transactions, is equivalent to 29.18 RUB. Meaning, US is more likely to be a more progressive country than Russia.
A drastic drop in ruble happened in 2008 during the oil price increase. Much of their export and business is associated with the oil industry that is why the country and the money market felt the recession. Against other currencies, the fall of Russian Ruble was greatly seen in the World Market which was why Banks in Russia were advised to raise interest rates in all forms.