The article introduces the Russian scientific studies on the absurd. The author defines two approaches to interpreting this phenomenon in Russian philosophical-humanitarian discourse. The first one presents the absurd as an anomalous and negative phenomenon: nonsense, chaos, awkwardness etc. On the contrary, the second approach gives a positive interpretation of absurdity, which actualizes the deeper level of sense order. The abnormal nature of the absurd prevents its recipient from the formation of one-sided view on the reality. Analyzing both approaches, the author concludes that the substance of the absurd consists in its transcendence to antinomies of any kind (sense/nonsense, rationality/irrationality, norm/abnormality etc.).