Dmitry, my gut feeling is that you have to enforce POST encoding in the
form at least, or otherwise detect when you have not received a utf-8
encoded POST data string.
I am at a loss as to how a latin-1 string ended up *bigger* than a UTF-8
one, but its possible that you might have encountered some cut&paste
artifacts. Try entering an umlaut using the character map (i.e. more