'In the West, the field of philosophy is more or less clearly divided into ontology, the theory of being, and epistemology, the theory of knowledge. In Russia, such a division is almost irrelevant since philosophy addresses a conception of being that is itself constructed by thinking. Beginning with Chaadaev, and the Westernizers and Slavophiles, Russian philosophy focused on the secondary reality, one created by ideas. In Russia, thought tried to confront the triumph of thought. One speculative capacity, "intelligentsia," opposed itself to another speculative capacity, "ideocracy," — but the former also created the latter. This self-contradictory movement of thought, shattering its own foundations, gives an unprecedented, sometimes "suicidal" quality to Russian philosophy. It may have been "derivative" and "secondary," but not so much in respect to Western thought, as in relation to properly Russian, utterly artificial, fabricated, and "ideational" reality.'
Mikhail Epstein on the nature of 'Russian philosophy', "Main Trends of Contemporary Russian Thought", paper based on his research of Russian Philosophical and Humanistic Thought 1950-1991.