On 1 May 2014, tweeting in both Uzbek and Russian, singer Ozoda Saidzoda appeared to lay the blame for her career setback squarely at the door of the country’s prime minister, Shavkat Mirziyaev
Ozoda later elaborated on her tweets in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service, claiming she has been a victim of persecution for a number of years.
“I am very much under pressure,” she told RFE/RL: “I was afraid for my life, so I kept silent in order to protect my relatives. But now I’ve run out of patience.”
Withdrawal of license
Ozoda Saidzoda had her special performing license revoked by the country’s shadowy entertainment authority in 2006. Although no official reason was given for the withdrawal of her license, many believed it was due to videos appearing on the Internet of some of her more risque performances, which were considered too vulgar and coarse by Uzbekistan’s rather conservative establishment.
Prime minister Shavkat Mirziyaev has held office since December 2003 and has a reputation for being one of the more hard-line elements in President Islam Karimov’s authoritarian government.
In June 2013, Uzbekistan’s Culture and Sports Ministry announced a ban on “meaningless” songs that fail to “praise the motherland”. Singers Dilfuza Rahimova, Otabek Mutalhojaev and Dilshod Rakhmonov were condemned as being “meaningless from musical and lyrical standpoints”.
» RFE/RL – 2 May 2014:
Uzbek ‘Tigress Of The East’ Takes On ‘Karimov’s Hammer’
“Her impassioned torch songs and often fiery brand of trad-pop kept her at the top of Uzbekistan’s entertainment industry — until she suddenly had her special performing license revoked by the country’s shadowy entertainment authority in 2006.”