This article introduced the formal notion of the enemy of workers: those subject to articles 58-2 — 58-13 (those under 58-1 were "traitors", 58-14 were "saboteurs").
Penal codes of other republics of the Soviet Union also had articles of similar nature.
Note: In this section, the phraseology of article 58 is given in quotes.
The article covered the following offenses.
A counter-revolutionary action is any action aimed at overthrowing, undermining or weakening of the power of workers' and peasants' Soviets... and governments of the USSR and Soviet and autonomous republics, or at the undermining or weakening of the external security of the USSR and main economical, political and national achievements of the proletarial revolution