The British paper put Russia's debt at $76 billion - less than 1% of the United States' $8.4 trillion. As a percentage of gross domestic product, Moscow's situation is not quite as rosy, but President George Bush would probably take a national debt running at 6% rather than 60% of GDP.
But by that measure, Japan may be in even worse shape - its $7.45 trillion public debt is more than 1 1/2 times the country's GDP. But Japan has spent so much of the last decade or so in economic difficulties that maybe the country has grown used to it.
Things could hardly be more different in Britain, where a decade of almost uninterrupted growth has come to a grinding halt. But the $1.2 trillion debt is still less than half of GDP. The other three European members of the G8 are in even worse shape. They all owe more than half their GDP. Italy, with the lowest GDP of the three, has the highest debt according to the Guardian, at $2.19 trillion. Next is Germany with $2.07 trillion, followed by France at $1.63 trillion.
Of the so-called BRIC countries, China's $580 billion debt is hardly daunting at less than a fifth of GDP, while Brazil's $590 billion is still less than half its GDP. India, on the other hand, is up there with the United States with a public debt of $637 billion totaling more than 60% of its 2007 GDP.
Down the bottom of the Guardian chart with Russia are Saudi Arabia, owing $91 billion, and South Africa, with a debt of $88 billion.