Uzbekistan has been ruled by the same group of people since before independence in 1991, i.e. members of the Soviet elites. They suppressed any real movement for change and opportunistically declared independence while remaining closely attached to Moscow. Unlike elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, the nationalist and counterrevolutionary movement was not successful in Central Asia.
At the same time, Uzbekistan's strategic location in Central Asia (and historically important role in the development of Islam) enabled the regime to position itself as a bulwark against Islamist militancy with varying degrees of success. What will happen now remains to be seen.