Voice of America reports that Russia has cut a deal with Venezuela to sell the South American dictatorship 98 civilian Ilyushin passenger and cargo aircraft. The arrangement was finalized by the Russian state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, during the Moscow air show. The exact amount of the contract is unknown, but it is estimated that it will put several billion dollars into Putin's coffers. Russia had previously sold 24 Sukhoi jets and 53 helicopters to Chavez' regime under a contract that called for Venezuela to purchase $3 billion worth of helicopters, fighter jets, and armaments.
Air shows provide the opportunity to showcase a nation's aeronautical and technological savvy, and the Moscow air show is no different. However, watch closely who buys what, from whom. In addition to the sales agreement with Chavez, Russia has also sealed deals to sell $350 million worth of passenger airplanes to Iran and Cuba.
Birds of a feather, indeed.