BASEES was established in 1989, when two older associations decided to merge: the British University Association of Slavists, and the National Association for Soviet and East European Studies. Both of these dated from the 1950s, but overwhelming majorities at the two annual general meetings decided that a larger, merged association would better serve the interests of our respective members. A further decision, taken in 1992, was to drop the word 'Soviet' from our title and call ourselves the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). The official name of the association, however, as reflected in our Constitution, and registered with the Charity Commission, remains the British Association for Soviet, Slavonic and East European Studies (BASSEES).
BASEES sponsored the Fourth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies at Harrogate in the summer of 1990, which was attended by over two thousand participants from all over the world, and it represents British specialists in the International Council for Central and East European Studies (ICCEES), which holds its own congress every five years. The 2005 congress was in held Berlin, Germany, the 2010 congress in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 2015 congress in Tokyo, Japan. The next congress will be held in Montreal in 2020.