Italian Army General Roberto Vannacci attends during the launch of his book on December 14, 2023 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)


Italian Army General suspended and demoted over controversial book


Italian Army General Roberto Vannacci has been suspended from employment for 11 months over a “lack of a sense of responsibility” regarding a book he published last year.

The suspension, a result of State disciplinary proceedings initiated on October 30, comes with a demotion and a halving of his salary. Vannacci has been replaced in his role rather than sacked.

The Italian Ministry of Defence noted a “lack of a sense of responsibility” and declared Vannacci was in “violation of the principle of neutrality/impartiality of the Armed Forces”, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

The Ministry also concluded he was guilty of “compromising the prestige and reputation of the Administration to which they belong and generating possible disruptive and divisive emulation effects within the military structure”.

Vannacci’s lawyer said his client would appeal the ruling, citing “the right to free expression of thought guaranteed to all citizens, including the military”.

In his self-published book Il Mundo al Contrario (The World in Reverse), Vannacci describes how everything “feels upside down” and where “logic and rationality went overboard’, with ordinary Italians left “feeling unable” to change the status quo.

Vannacci also criticises “rules of inclusion and tolerance imposed” on Italians, resulting in ethnic minorities and immigrants benefiting from de facto “privileges”.

The book became an instant bestseller, winning rave reviews on Amazon.

On the Left, it was seen as “homophobic” and “racist” and the book ignited a firestorm in Italian politics.

Vannacci faces a further four investigations and is charged with incitement of racial hatred.

Another investigation, opened by the military prosecutor’s office, is looking into his alleged “crazy expenses” when he was in Moscow acting as a military attaché.

The controversy has also opened rifts within Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing Government coalition.

Defence minister Guido Crossetto, a prominent member of Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party, was quick to denounce the book as “personal rantings” that had “discredited the army”.

Crosetto soon found himself coming under fire from both backbenchers within his own party and from coalition allies in the national-populist Lega party.

Regarding the affair, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini stated: “An investigation a day, we are ridiculous, how scary is the General?

“Long live freedom of thought and speech, long live the Armed Forces and the Forces of Order, long live men and women who every day defend the honour, freedom and security of Italians.”