I spent a few day with patching LinuxMCE database connection to pass UTF8 option to the server. But without luck. However I found a way to configure mysql server to skip client’s request about charset and send all data in the defined one. To do that just add following lines in the my.cnf file under mysqld section:
init_connect='SET NAMES utf8; SET collation_connection = utf8_general_ci;'
The option init_connect replaces setting ‘SET NAMES utf8’ from the client and skip-character-set-client-handshake tells to server to ignore charset sent by client and use it default one instead.
I tested this approach with LinuxMCE and it works. The Russian text is displayed on the Orbiter correctly. I tested it with Perl as well and found that Perl script still should set option mysql_enable_utf8 to true.