The article reveals the nature of differences in scale, composition and qualitative characteristics of the middle class in modern Russia and Germany. Special attention is paid to its distinct components – the small and medium-sized enterprises. The numerous German middle class, which includes plenty of owners of small and medium-sized production enterprises, often being the leaders of the national and world markets, is the creation of «productive capitalism» (according to M. Weber) and the Welfare State. The Russian middle class, on the contrary, exists in conditions of «adventurist capitalism» and the Welfare State dismantling. Therefore it has neither a solid economic basis, nor a stable dynamics of its number growth, nor models of behavior (in savings, investment etc.), typical to original middle class. Ideological disorientation and the organizational weakness of its strata make the situation worse. The article also contains data on the investment, innovation and export activities of Russian small and medium-sized enterprises and the appropriate determining factors.
middle class, small and medium-sized business, Welfare State, productive capitalism, adventurist capitalism.