The Sukhoi Superjet, upon which the future of Russia’s role in civil aviation rests, was given a boost today as Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the purchase by Italian aeronautical firm Alenia of a 25% stake in Sukhoi’s civil division. The Superjet, which is a 75-90 seat regional aircraft expected to take its first test flight next week, is designed to compete with similar craft from companies like Embraer and Bombardier. The project should be greatly helped by the Italians for their marketing muscle in Western Europe, and their assistance in advising on the aircrafts compliance with European emissions and noise standards. The Russian government has also shown an encouraging openness to to foreign investment with this deal, allowing foreign citizens to hold a blocking stake and perform managerial roles at Sukhoi (but the CEO must be Russian). It’s always good business to be part of a project that the Russian government wants to succeed.