This tactic does sound like it can hurt the Russians. I have been able to sack Moscow as Germany in the games I played but it is very hard and I don’t always succeed. There have been other games where I died in the Russian Winter.
I don’t think I could use the Italian aircraft against the opponent I play because he is usually pretty adamnent about reducing Italy to next to nothing before he strikes anything else. On UK1 he sinks half of my Italian fleet. Which hurts a lot but the main problem is the US fleet he pulls out of the Pacific and sends into the Med along with some subs and transports to end Italy’s war efforts in Africa. Meanwhile he flys fighters to Hawaii and transports Infantry there. It would still be possible to take out Hawaii as Japan but would take a lot of resources for very little economic gain.
I have countered by trying to win the game as Japan and I have killed India J3 with the purchase of the Hainan Naval base. Yet even then by the time I set my sights on the last victory city Italy has been stomped to irrelevant and the US is back in the Pacific.